With the completion of the Rainbow District School Board Soccer Dome (originally to be called the Fabio Belli Soccer Dome), the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club (GSSC) was eagerly looking toward having better facilities to play at through the frigid winter months that dominate most of the year in Sudbury. Sadly, the club once again finds itself with nowhere to play.
Why not the Dome?
The RDSB Soccer Dome is fully owned & operated by the school board, due to the Fabio Belli Foundation’s failure to fulfill its funding promises. As a result, much like school gyms across the region, the Soccer Dome needs to follow the requirements set forth by the Ministry of Education. At the moment, that means there can be no community use of school board owned facilities, which includes the dome.
But weren’t there supposed to be two domes?
Yes. A second dome at École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur, partially managed by the Sudbury District Sports Club, quietly disappeared. Originally the opening was setback to Fall 2020, but COVID-19 has effectively ceased any talk of the SDSC Dome.
Is there really nowhere to play?
It’s not a matter of there being absolutely nowhere to play; rather, it’s an issue of there being insufficient space available. According to GSSC, they “were offered three small city run gyms located in the communities of Falconbridge, Capreol, and Minnow Lake,” however, “none of these locations are large enough to run grassroots programming safely and effectively.”
Additionally, there is the possibility of converting a hockey arena to a turfed arena. Unfortunately, none “of the city’s fourteen ice pads” are available for use. Yes, Sudbury is very much a hockey city, but with the city council talking about demolishing several of these ice pads, converting one for indoor soccer could be a better use of resources, especially considering that Capreol Ice Pad #1 failed to have enough hours of ice time requested for it to open for the 2020-21 season.
Can anything be done?
Residents in Sudbury should contact their ward councilor & the mayor concerning the situation. As there are over 750 players without anywhere to play, and a whole hockey arena sitting empty for the season, there would appear a pretty good opportunity to find a way to solve two issues at the same time, at least for the duration of the school gym & dome restriction.
See the letter from the Joe Snofl, the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club President, for further details on this issue, and contact information for the mayor and ward councilors.
But we’re in COVID… Is sport really a good idea?
Although many may point out the Pickleball outbreak in Thunder Bay, there are two very good reasons why many are pushing for sports and other physical activities to continue despite COVID-19: physical & mental health.
In Sudbury, a 2014 Stats Canada report stated 1 in 3 adults were obese, making it the second-most obese city in Canada. High levels of obesity lead to additional strain on an already heavily burdened Health Care system. Additionally, obesity is a medical condition which greatly increases the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. This makes encouraging physical activity, in both children & adults, a vital part of a COVID-19 risk minimalization strategy.
Everyone’s mental health has taken a serious hit due to the ongoing pandemic. Physical activity, and sports in particular are a great way to combat the stress of today’s world. Getting on the turf and kicking a ball, with the proper health & safety precautions in effect.
In an interview with CBC, Joe Snofl pointed out that we “need our kids to stay active for their physical health, mental health and their physical and mental development.” Soccer is an excellent way to see progress in these areas, and “People need to be together, learning together and improving together.”