Monday, March 17, 2008

Planned athletics complex too small for football

Planned athletics complex too small for football

Canada Games organizers should be thinking about football when they break ground on a new $6 million outdoor facility at UPEI, says Charlottetown city councillor Mitchell Tweel.

As currently planned, there is no room for a football field in the middle of the running track, Tweel told CBC News Friday.

Football isn't part of the Games, so accommodating that sport hasn't been a priority.

"As far as being football ready, our requirement and our focus is to have an athletics complex that is of standard for national athletics and for the Canada Games," said Paul M. Schurman, 2009 Games committee spokesman.

It's been almost 30 years since UPEI fielded a varsity football team, but when university pigskin fans heard the Canada Games track and field complex would be built on campus, they got excited. Tweel believes the facility should be built with the future in mind, adding that's not a particular strength for Charlottetown.

"We don't build buildings and facilities for today and tomorrow. We build them for yesterday," said Tweel.

"It's not being visionary … If we're going to construct a multi-purpose field and spend five to six million dollars, I would argue do it right the first time."

UPEI athletic director Ron Annear didn't return calls from CBC News, but has publicly stated that if football becomes a priority for the school, changes to the field can be made.

Tweel argues it would be cheaper to make plans to accommodate football before building the complex.

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