Burns Lake Youth Soccer Club celebrates 15 years

Soccer has become popular across the region and is a sport that focuses on team efforts

Planned site for the arboretum trail

Planned site for the arboretum trail

Pat Brochez from the Burns Lake Youth Soccer Club said that plans for an arboretum trail will still go ahead his year, despite the project’s recent funding challenges.

As reported in the Lakes District News edition of Dec. 7, 2011 the soccer club is planning to make use of a strip of unused land adjacent to Lake District Secondary School (LDSS) by constructing a 250 metre long educational ‘arboretum’ walking trail. The trail will run parallel to the existing fence line below the LDSS running track.

Brochez said he hopes that by establishing a walking trail, locals will be encouraged to move off the running track and onto a more visually appealing walkway. Once complete, the trail will have a gravel walkway and be planted with native species of trees on either side. Informational plaques, which the soccer club is hoping to find sponsors for will also be placed near each of the trees.

The trees will screen out the industrial activities of the adjacent CN railway tracks and the trail will also reduce the drying effects of blowing winds to the fields, as well as provide a windbreak to reduce blowing dust.

Brochez said that recent community events have made fundraising for the project more difficult. “In the wake of the Babine Forest Products tragedy, the soccer club has been unable to raise funds towards the full complement of 50 saplings that were originally planned for the trail.” Brochez said.

“It is likely that we will now focus on putting a few trees in each year and extend the planting phase. I did solicit funding from a number of provincial and national grants agencies, but without success,” he added.

Once the walking track is completed, the club will continue working to raise funds for the trees to complete the trail.

A few trees will be planted this year, with more in the years to come, unless further funding becomes available.

The total cost of the trail is estimated at $40,000 with $13,000 already raised from a range of sources, both local and provincial.

The soccer club plans to have each tree sponsored and a list of trees was selected by a committee that chose species suited to the environment and that represented a broad cross-section of tree species from across B.C. “Some of the trees are ornamental, others are very economically valuable,” Brochez said, adding that no sponsors have been lined up yet.

The project has three phases. Phase one is an information kiosk, a forestry display and picnic table and Brochez said these will be on the field in May as soon as the ground dries up to allow work to begin.

“Phase one  is ready to go. Phase two is the construction of the walking trail and half of the money for this has been raised. Phase three is the tree planting and I have some trees committed, but not enough to complete the trail.”

Brochez said the trail is designed to require minimal maintenance and may at some point link up to a future village wide trail network. “Until this happens, the soccer club will look after the trail.”

The trail is being launched as part of the soccer club’s 15 anniversary this year.

“There was a couple of initiatives planned for the anniversary this year, but for the most part these have been cancelled due to the tragedy as many of our members worked at the sawmill and are directly impacted. The club has approximately 250 kids that participate on an annual basis and while not all are impacted, a planned reconstruction of the main field this year will concentrate our activities to the lower field close to LDSS and the mini-tournament that brings approximately 1,000 people to Burns Lake each year has been cancelled as a result.”

“When I took the program over, it was difficult to find divisional coaches and enough players at the under 14 level to make a full team of 15 players. But the success of our program and the popularity of soccer has increased and we now have full under 14 teams, sometimes three or four of them, a full under 16 and an under 18 team.”

According to Brochez, soccer has become popular across the region and he attributes this to it being a sport that focuses on team efforts making it attractive to many parents.

“The fun of playing soccer is contagious for the kids. Soccer offers an active healthy and engaging activity that kids love to participate in and teaches excellent life-skills such as team work and cooperation.”

“While individuals may be talented, a soccer team involves 11 players who all participate and work together. The program teaches kids all about working together to achieve a goal and how hard work at practice translates to success.”

“ The club is all about having fun playing soccer but our competitive teams represent Burns Lake extremely well. It is a true sign of spring when our club and the hundreds of kids get out on to that field and start playing,” Brochez added.