City pushes ahead with plans for a new Calgary fieldhouse

The City of Calgary is continuing to explore the construction of a multi-purpose fieldhouse in the city’s northwest.

A city committee met on Monday to discuss the $285-million project. Earlier this year, the city approved nearly $20 million for planning and design of a renovated Foothills Athletic Park. Part of that master plan includes a new fieldhouse that would include a 400-metre track, eight basketball courts and capacity for 10,000 spectators.

Funding for the project would come from recreation levies paid by developers.

“That is an important distinction compared to the other projects you hear about,” said Councillor George Chahal, chair of the Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee.

Calgary is the only major Canadian city without a multi-purpose fieldhouse and the city has been trying to break ground on one since the 1960s.

Chahal said construction could start by 2022 but that could be delayed if the money is not available.

“Last week’s budget doesn’t have anything to do with this project because we have the initial money to do the capital funding and to do the planning and design work for the entire site, which is extremely important,” Chahal said.

“There are future budgetary decisions that council will have to make down the road.”

He said the city is working with the University of Calgary and neighbouring stakeholders on the master plan for the Foothills Athletic Park.

“It’s really important that the other orders of government see this as an important project to invest in Calgary and we are hoping they continue to see that and they continue to invest in our beautiful city so we can grow and we all have opportunities to be able to play amateur sports and have a healthy lifestyle moving forward,” Chahal said.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said council has chosen to invest in the city’s future.

“These are things we’ve been waiting for decades and decades and ultimately, that fieldhouse proposal is going to stand on its own,” Nenshi said.

“Having kids be able to play soccer in the winter and do track and field is not a ‘nice-to-have,’ it’s actually something that helps the city function and ultimately, we’re going to make sure the city functions and it’s a nice place to live.”


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