Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams kicks the first ball through this Thank You banner to officially open the Robron Turf Field Sunday.

Robron Field Committee launches fundraising campaign for new clubhouse

The Robron Turf Field was 10 years in the making and required many, many people to come together.

The new all-weather artificial turf field has been in use since Jan. 7, and on Feb. 28, in the middle of a Super 8 Jamboree featuring 15 soccer teams from across Vancouver Island, community members celebrated the grand opening of the field and the launch of a new fundraising drive that will build the next step of the improvements at Robron Park— a new clubhouse.

Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams explained that the turf field is actually the second phase of five.

The first phase was the lacrosse boxes and the relocation of the tennis courts and the playground equipment.

“This was the No. 1 priority in the City of Campbell River survey for recreational facilities, so we’re really pleased to see this done and opened here today,” said Adams. “It’s exciting to see this field already in use and this weekend, we have over 150 soaking wet kids from all over Vancouver Island here with their families and next weekend, we’re going to have another 110 athletes here doing playoffs, so it’s already been a good success in attracting sports and venues and spinoff to the local community.”

During the grand opening of the turf field, Sid Shook from the Campbell River Youth Soccer Association (CRYSA) officially launched the next phase for the Robron complex, a fundraising campaign to build a new clubhouse.

“We are aiming, if we raise funds quick enough, to have this built by fall and if not, it will be 2017, so donate generously,” said Shook, who is a member of the Robron Field Committee.

Shook says people will be able to stand on the upper deck of the clubhouse and watch games from indoors, there will be a public bathroom, a wraparound deck from which people can watch games, and a great room on the second floor of the clubhouse that can be used as a banquet hall seating 98 people or a sports lounge for teams.

For Shook, the highlight of this new building will be the Sports Donor Hall of Fame as you enter the building. Individuals, groups, clubs, families, businesses and organizations that donate $100 or more will receive plaques, which will be mounted on the wall in a very artistic way, according to Shook.

There will be different levels of recognition for donations, and during the grand opening, Shook presented the first three MVP plaques for those donating $10,000 or more.

The City of Campbell River received a plaque for all the infrastructure the city is putting in, and Seymour Pacific received a plaque for in-kind contributions that Shook says are probably worth $50,000 to $80,000.

CRYSA received an MVP plaque after presenting a cheque to Shook for $154,000.

During the Jamboree, the Campbell River Strikers set up two concession stands and donated all the funds to the new clubhouse.

Athletes from Campbell River football, lacrosse, men’s and ladies’ soccer, Vancouver Island Premier League soccer and We Wai Kai soccer teams all came out for the grand opening, showcasing how the new field benefits many different user groups.

“It’s just great to see all these different groups that get out there and use this great facility,” said Al Rimell of CRYSA. “While we were doing a lot of work to influence the field being built, one of the key things we thought about and we looked at was that building sports infrastructure is always a good investment … sports infrastructure builds healthy kids, healthy communities and a healthy economy.”

The night before the grand opening, Rimell looked over his notes from the past year, and he says it became very obvious how many people were involved in making this dream a reality.

“When I was looking at my five years’ of notes, it’s extremely important to recognize that this project was the vision of many, the determined work of many and the passion of many,” he said. “Today is the realization of that vision, that work, that passion and reinforces the importance of sport in our community.”

For more information about the clubhouse fundraising campaign or to make a donation, contact Sid Shook at 250-923-7838 or Al Rimell at 250-204-4060.