The We Wai Kai Nation announced Thursday that construction was underway on a $2.3 million upgrade to the original soccer field at Quinsam.
After several years of planning, Chief and Council authorized the construction of two natural grass, professional sized 75 meter by 110 meter soccer fields and two baseball fields over a five-acre parcel of land in the center of the Quinsam Reserve.
“We are really fortunate to be in a place where we can make this kind of investment up at Quinsam,” said Chief Brian Assu. “We are also really happy that it can be shared with the people of Campbell River.”
The fields will be the new home for the We Wai Kai FC, which has over 70 kids registered and playing in the program. The original field was built in the 1970s and is in need of an upgrade, especially since the growth of the soccer program over the past few years has been significant.
Glenn Assu is the head of the WWK FC and says, “our club welcomes members from both the Campbell River and Cape Mudge Bands, with some additional First Nations kids who are living in the area, and they are really excited about this.”
The grass fields are designed on quick draining, structurally stable, clear crushed rock over drain tile with modern irrigation. The main field will have high mast LED lights allowing for a longer season, and includes the option of installing artificial turf later. Furthermore, the nation is taking full advantage of the rock acquired from the John Hart upgrade by manufacturing 15,000 tonnes of product for construction.
Upland Contracting was the successful bidder and President Mark Stuart says, “this is an exciting project for us and our town. We are really pleased to be working with Chief Assu and the nation and are really committed to making this a showcase facility.”
Project financing includes $1.4 million from the Federal Government as part of the 2017-2018 capital program with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The balance comes from a commitment by Chief and Council.
“Our membership has wanted improved sports facilities for our kids for a long time, and the addition of baseball fields makes this more appealing to everyone. We have had both soccer tournaments and ball tournaments here and on Quadra for years and this should bring some new interest in sports to our community among both kids and adults,” added Chief Assu.
This is a first phase of a larger vision for Quinsam where the recreational facilities are connected by trails to the Quinsam Centre and to the new Daycare/Preschool the nation is building.
The fields will be ready in September and in the interim, We Wai Kai and the City of Campbell River will collaborate on how everyone can benefit from this new and important addition to the area.
The We Wai Kai Nation has 1,150 members with reserves in Campbell River and on Quadra Island. They, along with the We Wai Kum and Kwiakah Nations are the Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples whose territory stretches from the Tsitika River to Jackson Bay down to Bute Inlet across to Qualicum and includes the Campbell River and Salmon River watersheds.