Monday, November 3, 2008

Gearing up for Games

Ian MacGougan of CBCL Consultants looks over the progress made to date on sports fields adjacent to Summerside's Credit Union Place.

Ian MacGougan of CBCL Consultants looks over the progress made to date on sports fields adjacent to Summerside's Credit Union Place.

Gearing up for Games

The Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - With 284 days remaining until the start of the 2009 Canada Games, work on facilities across the province is, for the most part, on schedule.

In Summerside, a multi-sport artificial turf field, beach volleyball courts and tennis courts should be complete by mid-November and sports fields at UPEI are 85 per cent finished.

But in Montague, where work has just started, it's another story.

"That has been delayed and delayed," said host society president Joseph Spriet. "It's started now, but there is a bit of concern that they are not further ahead than they are."

The venue is slated to host female wrestling. Spriet has been in talks with two facilities interested in the event if Montague's wellness centre isn't ready.

"We're building that for the purpose of the Canada Games and some money was leveraged to get that done so it would be a shame if we actually couldn't host games there," said Spriet, who optimistically added, "I'm sure it will be ready."

Canada Games is putting a total of $14 million into upgrading existing facilities or building new fields and venues. In Summerside alone, a few million is being spent, with $2 million funneled to Credit Union Place for the opening ceremonies and to get ready to host basketball.

"Really, I am beside myself and I don't want to shout too loud, but it's wonderful to be in a position where we are now," added Spriet. "It's quite rewarding to see what has happened."

The Games will leave a legacy on P.E.I. and its athletes, said facilities co-ordinator Robert Arsenault.

Communities will be beneficiaries of improved and, in some cases, new facilities, along with equipment.

"It certainly gives us an opportunity to host national scale events but also gives our home athletes a training venue," said Arsenault.

"That home field advantage just doesn't last for the two weeks of the games. It's ongoing."

Mult-use field nearly ready

Work should be complete by mid-November on construction of Summerside's multi-million Canada Games sports fields.

The work, adjacent to Credit Union Place, has a $2.9 million pricetag.

First, there's a multi-sport synthetic turf field, located north of Willow Avenue. The 76x108-metre regulation soccer field with turf end zones, which can be later used for football, will be used for men and women's soccer.

Technical services director Aaron MacDonald said preliminary work is done. All that's needed is the artificial turf, which is currently being fabricated.

"We are waiting to hear word from them when they plan to arrive to install it," said MacDonald.

The artificial turf will be laid before snow falls and, once spring arrives, the field will be ready for use as soon as the snow melts. Adjacent to that field is a small gravel parking area.

South of Willow Drive along Greenwood Drive are the two beach volleyball courts, each measuring 26x36 metres.

Sand is currently being laid, work that's expected to be done before winter.

Built on site is a 9x12-metre clubhouse/storage building, which includes two single washrooms, small storage area and electrical room.

Underground conduit is in place to allow the area, which currently has no lighting and won't for the Games, to be illuminated in the future.

Three tennis courts, each regulation size, are being constructed in the area south of Willow Avenue along Greenwood Drive. These courts won't be used for the Games. Tennis competition will take place in Charlottetown.

The city has "greened" out another area for a future field.

For more on the Journal-Pioneer's snapshot on how the Island is getting ready for the Games, pick up Monday's paper edition of the Journal-Pioneer.

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