City unconvinced by Yellowknife soccer club plans to build facilities at St. Joe’s

Lori Lindsey at Active Start Festival in Yellowknife
Acorn says the lack of facilities puts people off from taking up the sport. (Supplied by Active Start.)
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The Yellowknife soccer club is asking to build a changing room at École St. Joseph School soccer field, but the city continues to voice concerns about the plans.

Coach Joe Acorn said the Yellowknife Soccer Club is the biggest user of the fieldhouse and the biggest user of Yellowknife’s outdoor fields. Currently the club uses St. Joe’s soccer field predominantly, which is owned by the city, but the area lacks facilities.

“The kids go pee in the bushes behind the skate park,” he said. “When parents ask and I tell them, it turns them off the game.”

Currently the club has 25 coaches and around 180 kids that play soccer with the club. Acorn said he wants to grow the game in the town, but the lack of facilities puts people off from joining.

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“There’s no place to go to the washroom, there’s no place to store equipment, there’s no place to get changed,” he added. “It hampers us when we’re trying to grow the game.”

The soccer club had submitted an application for a development permit to be allowed to place a portable toilet and build a small changing room facility, but the city rejected it. The application was rejected because the city said the project would allow unfair access to the field for a private organization.

“We’re not a for-profit organization, I would love to stop losing money, we’re just trying to help our kids play soccer,” he said.

“We don’t want a single dollar from the city, we’re asking permission to do this ourselves,” he added.

Acorn said the facility would be available for other organizations to use if they asked permission.

“But I don’t want to say we’re writing a blank cheque and anyone can use it, we have to protect the money we’re spending,” he said.

Councillors said the issue needed more conversation and would be brought forward at the next governance and priorities committee meeting.

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