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Indoor soccer : Construction starts

Soccer enthusiasts in the borough may have a new place to play indoors come the end of 2014.

The plans for a new indoor soccer center to be constructed and opened by 2014 at the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex were first announced by the City of Montreal two years ago.

Construction officially began Tuesday at the site that will eventually give access to players from all 19 boroughs.

Construction costs soared from the original $28.3 million estimate after the City of Montreal awarded the nearly $40 million contract, taxes included, to Construction T.E.Q. Inc. on June 12.

According to Richard Deschamps, member of the City of Montreal executive committee, responsible for sports and recreation, infrastructure and supply, the increased costs were mostly because the project went from originally being a “standard soccer stadium, to something truly exceptional.”

“It’s not the same concept at all. This project is completely different, and that’s why the costs have gone up,” he said during an interview.

Many of the additional costs came from the addition of new elements to the project, including making it a LEED Gold-certified building, meaning that the design concept would incorporate the best practices in sustainable development.

According to the city, the project will receive funding of $12.7 million from the governments of Canada and Quebec through the Building Canada Fund.

Once the first phase of construction is completed at the end of next year, the second phase will begin with the building of a lighted outdoor soccer field, bleachers, fencing and landscaping.

The center is expected to include one full-size 11-player soccer pitch that can be divided into smaller surfaces for seven-a-side play, locker rooms, a fitness room and a physiotherapy room, and should be open by December of 2014.

“It’s going to be a tight schedule, but we are confident that it will be finished for the deadline. Maybe everything won’t be finished, but it should be open and functional,” said Deschamps.

“There will be a trial period, but we hope players will be using it by early 2015,” he said.

Until then, indoor soccer will continue to be played at the usual locations used by local clubs and associations.

In Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the NDG Soccer Association (NDGSA) isn’t holding its breath for the new indoor arena.

The non-profit volunteer association serves players in the borough and neighbouring areas with no competitive (intercity) soccer teams of their own.

“It could be good for us if it ever opens, but it’s not exactly in our backyard either. Will people from NDG really want to travel that far for practice?” said Rino Lisella, the NDGSA’s general manager for competitive divisions.

The NDGSA currently rents out the Stinger Dome on Concordia University’s Loyola Campus. Though it comes at the steep price of $600 per hour for the full field (after 4:00 p.m.), Lisella said it’s not really an option for young soccer players who are truly passionate about the sport to simply give it up during the winter season.

“It’s so important,” he said about continuing to practice during the winter.

Available space has been an issue for the association over the years, and the new facility in Saint-Michel could be an option once it opens.

“Obviously, we need space. We have 700 kids who play indoor soccer, so we need all of the facilities that we can get,” said Lisella

Jesse Feith
Photo: Jesse Feith


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