Nelson Soccer Association board member Alex Short (left) was awarded the Walter Dehnel Memorial Award for Volunteerism by president Chuck Bennett (right) at the society’s annual general meeting Monday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson Soccer hopes to start construction on turf field next year

President Chuck Bennett says he has set 2019 as a goal to break ground

The president of the Nelson Soccer Association (NSA) says he hopes to begin construction of an artificial turf field at Selkirk College in 2019.

Chuck Bennett said loan payments to the city for its indoor soccer facility are nearly complete, and that Nelson’s biggest sports organization will next turn its attention to a new outdoor field.

“I think it’s realistic,” said Bennett. “It’s a big ask, it’s a big job, but it’s realistic.”

Financial statements revealed by NSA at its annual general meeting Monday night show it is on the verge of paying off a $350,000 loan from the city for the indoor soccer field on Cedar Street, which it acquired from Soccer Quest in 2014.

Once the final $15,000 is paid in May, the city and NSA plan to enter a profit-sharing agreement in which 50 per cent of the revenue goes to the city for soccer-related projects.

Bennett said the money being allocated to the indoor field payments could then be flipped to the turf field project, which the organization first pitched to city council in September 2016.

NSA recorded an $88,000 excess of revenue over expenses in 2017, but Bennett said external funding would likely be needed for the project.

Bennett said preliminary engineering has already taken place at a field next to Tenth Street Campus’s Mary Hall, and that Selkirk is unofficially on board.

City approval would also be required. The land is owned by the city, which in turn leases it to Selkirk.

“We’re waiting for the feasibility study to start, and once we have that then I think we’ll get everyone to the table and say here’s what we need,” said Bennett.

Field space is a premium at Lakeside Park.

NSA had over 1,400 players in its house, rep and adult outdoor leagues this year, and shares the city-owned fields with other sports including rugby, ultimate frisbee and slo-pitch.

A turf field, Bennett said, will provide much-needed space not only for NSA but other sports organizations as well.

“There’s some really good things that can happen for the community, and we’re the right organization to do it,” he said. “We’ve got strength in numbers, we’re in a good financial position, we continue to manage what we’re doing. I think we’re the right guys to take it on.”

Other announcements at the meeting included:

• Director Alex Short was awarded the annual Walter Dehnel Memorial Award for Volunteerism.

• The annual Terry Walgren Tournament, which was scrapped earlier this year due to wildfire smoke, has been rescheduled from September to May.

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