Fundraising group eyes society status

The $1.6-million field would allow more than 1,000 soccer and baseball fields to use Fred Milne Park year-round.

The Sooke Soccer Club is forming a joint fundraising committee with the Sooke Community Association to collect funds for an all-weather turf field at Fred Milne Park.

The $1.6-million field would allow more than 1,000 soccer and baseball fields to use Fred Milne Park year-round.

So far, local government has committed $1 million to the project: $700,000 from the District of Sooke and $300,000 from the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. The other $600,000 will be raised through community fundraising, in-kind donations and grants.

The new fundraising committee is now going through the process to form a society.

“We hope to have that up and running fairly quickly,” said Laura Lockhart, president of Sooke Soccer Club.

The community association, which owns the field, also needs to get the field out of the agricultural land reserve, although the pitch has been used as a sports field for more than 30 years.

“The community association and the soccer club want to see this as a community work project,” Lockhart said.

“Much of the initial ground work will be done by local trades in-kind, which can ultimately save $200,000.”

Currently, maintenance on the grass field costs about $20,000 season with volunteers doing most of the work.

And while rain stop games on the grass field, it also forces athletes indoors.

Sooke Soccer Club spent $2,000 on gym rentals last season, and another $10,000 on all-field use in Langford.

Last season more than 100 games were cancelled in Sooke due to inclement weather.

The cancellation not only affected Sooke children, but others throughout the South Island who had scheduled games here.

Lockhart hopes to begin the new field construction this fall.

 

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