Phase 1 of Whitecaps' UBC plan to open next summer

UBC Sports medicine not part of 'CAPS pricey field house plan

University of B.C. sports medics were unhappy to be shut out of the planned National Soccer Development Centre field house, according to the records of a May 17 committee meeting.

Notes from the New Building Site Selection Committee said the Faculty of Medicine was "disappointed" the UBC Sports Medicine Clinic "cannot co-locate with the field house."

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"It is noted that it would be beneficial for both (Vancouver Whitecaps)/UBC Athletic and the Sports Medicine Clinic if Sports Medicine Clinic can utilize a small space/office in the field house for monitoring patients who are out on the track and field while attending a patient in house," said the report, released via a Freedom of Information request.

"The Faculty of Medicine also requested that (Campus and Community Planning) re-consider the possibility of co-locating the full Sports Medicine Clinic in the field house on the provision that the existing parking area within the fields be removed and the Clinic rely only on street parking along East Mall."

A report to the Dec. 4 Board of Governors' meeting said a new Sports Medicine Clinic will be developed between Osborne Centre and the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre on Thunderbird Boulevard.

The field house in Thunderbird Park is expected to be the most expensive component of the $23.5 million National Soccer Development Centre project. A Sept. 21 construction schedule pegged the cost at $16.7 million, but the Board of Governors' report said it would range from $14 million to $17 million and be complete by March 2015. The Whitecaps will pay operating and maintenance costs of the centre, use up to two-thirds of the 30,000 square foot field house and train on the fields more than 75 per cent of the time. The rest of the space and time is for UBC Athletics' use.

UBC is supplying the land at no cost. The Whitecaps are providing $9 million capital funding and the remaining $14.5 million is subsidized by taxpayers. UBC and the Whitecaps announced plans Sept. 6 after signing a letter of intent last February. They are expected to finalize the agreement in January. Greg Kerfoot, the club's media-shy principal owner, is a 1983 UBC graduate and supporter of Premier Christy Clark, whose Vancouver-Point Grey riding includes UBC.

"UBC will provide use of land for a period of 22 years for the field house and playing fields, with the exception of Whit Matthews Field where use may be limited to 10 years as per provisions noted in the report," said in the report.

"Research into light and noise impacts on the adjacent neighbourhood will be undertaken and communicated to the community through a consultation process."

Phase 1 of the project is an $800,000, 4,000-square-foot training facility at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre. Upgrades to playing fields are expected to be complete by next summer and cost $3 million for two fields on Matthews Field and $2 million for a new artificial turf field on Spencer Field. The Whitecaps also want a $500,000 resurfacing of Thunderbird Stadium's patio/parking area.

The provincial funds are through the Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ministry, now headed by Bill Bennett. The ministry also oversees municipal governance in B.C. and is directly responsible for the unincorporated University Endowment Lands, meaning Bennett is the de facto mayor. Day-to-day operations are handled by UEL manager Marie Engelbert. A community advisory board reviews the draft annual budget and property tax requisition.

The community of 4,000 residents has existed under provincial jurisdiction since the 1920s and voted against merging with Vancouver in 1995. The 2012 budget is $12.018 million for administration, public works and fire services.

The briefing book and transition papers prepared for Bennett, obtained via FOI, list four priorities for the fiscal year, but only one was not censored by the government: "Continue the rollout of curbside recycling throughout the UEL."

2010goldrush@gmail.com

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