This week Lakes District News wrote about an idea being discussed by Burns Lake Soccer Club members to turn the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena into an indoor artificial turf field and running track.
What club members are saying is that while the soccer club continues to grow, Burns Lake’s short soccer season puts local players at a disadvantage. While many teams across B.C. start practicing in August, holding their final games in early July, our local soccer club only starts practicing in May.
Burns Lake Soccer Club board member Donna Franz told Lakes District News last week that local players can’t compete at that level.
“Our club is reaching the point where it needs to move on to the next level of participation,” she said.
The Burns Lake Soccer Club initially discussed the idea of building an indoor soccer facility separate from the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena. But given that this would likely be a monumental task for such a small club, club members realized that it would be easier to propose changes to the existing ice arena.
Their argument is that this change would increase arena usage, since different groups such as seniors and rugby teams could use it, while eliminating the costs associated with ice maintenance. But of course, I imagine that an indoor field facility would have other costs such as heating.
Although I would personally love the idea of an indoor running track (because there are approximately three months of the year that I can’t go running outside), and I agree that an indoor field facility would likely attract more users, I wish there was a solution that did not eliminate hockey from Burns Lake.
Although council members have pointed out that hockey participation has been dwindling in the recreation department’s organizational review, there are still many people in town who love hockey and look forward to the hockey season all year long. Hockey has been huge in Burns Lake for decades, and we are in Canada after all.
That being said, as council members also pointed out in the rec. review, new trends such as increased participation in soccer should be supported, and we should pay attention to the growing needs of the soccer club.
I also think this discussion is coming at the right time. The Village of Burns Lake is currently in the process of developing a recreation master plan, which will set the priorities for Burns Lake with regard to recreation options – how much the village will invest in recreation, and what recreation options will be supported.
It will be interesting to see how this discussion unfolds over the next few months.
Will we continue to be a hockey town? Will we change into something entirely different? Or will we find a way to keep improving all of our recreation options?