The proposed soccer field complex in Whistle Bend, at the bottom of the hill from Wann Road, requires extensive site preparation. It is a treed, shady, wet site over frost-susceptible silts subject to annual runoff and slow snow melt.
It needs to be logged, excavated to five feet deep, drained and filled with gravel base before any artificial track, soccer field, or building complex can be started.
A few million would need to be set aside for this work, before any final plans are prepared and approved, and before governments sort out whether the project is financially viable, who will pick up the tab if the operator goes broke, or who is responsible if the site is poorly prepared, drained or maintained to become an unusable facility.
An artificial track is a big investment, and the previous location in Riverdale was sunny, well drained, and readily accessed. A central, sunny field near a school would offer much better value and use.
Whistle Bend has no school, services, fire station, coffee shops, restaurants, or hotels so is a poor candidate for any large sporting event or extended care facility where many visitors are expected. Planners need to seriously consider the needs of all the visitors to such facilities, not just the availability of cheap, wet land.
It’s the same dilemma faced by some of our commercial and industrial subdivisions that are also low lying and equally isolated. Some time for more public consultation is a good thing. City council has done right to embrace the soccer field and track concept but exercise due caution.
Robert Wills, P.Eng.