Kramberger: Dollard gets the ball rolling on new indoor sports facility

But the potential $20-million project awaits provincial funding and is years away from becoming a reality.

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The West Island soccer community will be thrilled to hear Dollard-des-Ormeaux is kickstarting plans for a new indoor multipurpose sports facility to be equipped with synthetic turf, which will have an 11-a-side field that could be divided into three seven-a-side sections. But they will have to be patient, because the potential $20-million project awaits provincial funding and is years away from becoming a reality.

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Dollard city council tabled a resolution in November to seek a grant from the Education Ministry under a financial assistance program for recreational, sports and outdoor infrastructure. It could take around six months before Dollard finds out if its request is approved. The city notes the proposed complex would meet the growing demand for year-round soccer in the region, but could also be used for other sports, such as flag football, rugby, baseball and softball.

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Dollard Mayor Alex Bottausci added it could also be used in collaboration with high school sports concentration programs.

“We will be not only be using this facility for soccer, but for a variety of different sports. One of the arenas we are looking to explore, something that is lacking in the West Island, is for Sport-Études,” he said. “The key thing here is to expand our sports offering to the community.

“Our goal is to provide a venue to keep our youth active.”

École secondaire des Sources in Dollard and John Rennie in Pointe-Claire are local public high schools that already offer Sport-Études options.

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The sports complex could also act as a backup venue for outdoor cultural events that are rained out in the summer, the mayor said.

Over the past two decades, a few attempts for a private indoor soccer facility in Dollard fell through, even with the city’s support. The sports complex being proposed now would be municipally owned and operated. It would be located on the Civic Centre property on de Salaberry Blvd., just west of Sources Blvd., which already houses a pool, ice rinks and library.

The Dollard Soccer Club has around 2,000 youth signed up, and there are as many other players within neighbouring associations in the Pierrefonds-Roxboro and L’île-Bizard—Ste-Geneviève boroughs that could be interested in renting hours at the proposed complex. The complex could generate revenue for the city, the mayor noted.

“Soccer continues to be in high demand,” Bottausci said. There is a market for indoor soccer in the West Island, he added.

While the Catalogna Soccerplex in Lachine has been shuttered, there is a privately run dome in Baie-D’Urfé just off Highway 40 that is used by several West Island soccer associations, including Dollard’s. There is another dome facility in Kirkland.

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Bottausci said the requested grant could reach a maximum of about $12 million. He estimates the potential sports complex, which would be an industrial type of building rather than an insulated dome covering a field, could land in the $20-million range. The city will fish for other possible grants, and public donations could be garnered to help cover the project, he added.

Dollard, with a population nearing 50,000, has received substantial grants for recreational infrastructure projects in recent years, including for its $6.5-million library makeover unveiled in 2021 and a $5.4-million expansion of its community centre in 2018. So there is a reasonable chance a sports complex could make the cut.

Dorval not considering indoor soccer dome: mayor

Meanwhile, a suggestion on Dorval’s new online public consultation platform made by resident Julie Cassab that her city should erect a dome for indoor soccer caused a short-lived stir last week. There was some initial confusion as her post was side by side with proposals, such as for pickleball courts, that were placed by city staff. The city and public proposals have since been separated on the platform. Dorval’s online citizens’ participation platform, which recently launched, aims to answer questions and gauge support for city proposals related to its planning program, but it allows people to propose new ones to which everyone can provide feedback.

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Cassab, a longtime competitive player and a soccer mom, thinks Dorval has the financial means to prioritize setting up a dome, taking into consideration a significant commercial and industrial tax base that includes Trudeau airport. She laments the closure of the Catalogna Soccerplex, a private venture that was purchased by a developer in 2021 and is being demolished to make way for a high-density residential project just off Highway 20.

“There is a big soccer community in the West Island,” she said.

There is now even more of a shortage of indoor fields with Catalogna gone, she added, suggesting a new city-run facility would be a more likely option to succeed.

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Dorval Mayor Marc Doret told the Montreal Gazette the idea of a soccer dome is not on the city’s radar to propose as part of updating its master plan regarding leisure and cultural services, parks and green spaces. The new online consultation platform is in its first run and needed some adjustment to better differentiate public suggestions from the city’s proposals, the mayor said.

“A dome is not even a subject of discussion with council,” Doret said.

The city’s existing outdoor synthetic turf field was not designed to be covered by a dome, which is prohibited by Dorval’s bylaws, he added.

West Islanders looking for indoor sports facilities or for other desired services should take advantage of any consultations dealing with long-term planning to let their civic leaders know what is needed in the community.

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