Shuswap Co-Ed Soccer November 28, 2023
Dan Gunn – Organizer
Theresa Fenkhuber – Financial
Jayson Ursulak – Website / Media
Mayor Allan Harrison and Council
City of Salmon Arm
500 2nd Avenue NE
Salmon Arm, BC
V1E – 4N2
Dear Mayor Harrison and Council,
Soccer is the worlds most popular sport, is the most inclusive and diverse, is the least expensive sports in which to participate in and is a great introduction to our community for those who are new to the area and/or country. Soccer is a sport that breaks down social boundaries like nothing else in the world can and connects people.
I am taking the time to write you and the council today on behalf of the volunteers and membership of Shuswap Co-Ed Soccer / Salmon Arm Soccer to express our concerns, disappointment, and frustration regarding the letter we received from Shuswap Recreation Society on behalf of the City of Salmon Arm.
I have been involved in volunteering, organizing, and running the Shuswap Co-Ed Soccer League for the past 12 years. During that time, the SASCU Indoor Complex has been the ONLY facility in Salmon Arm large enough, with the additional benefit of artificial turf, to accommodate our sports program and has been an invaluable asset (despite its deficiencies) to our membership and overall sports community.
Our Recreational and Competitive Co-Ed League, which runs from FALL to SPRING every year, SATURDAY and SUNDAY nights, for 5 hours on each night and has a combined membership of just under 300 members (both adult and youth) which continues to show growth every year.
To put that into perspective, we book over 200 hours per year in the SASCU Indoor Complex and have spent over $175,000.00* renting this facility, just in the time that I have been involved.
We have spent hundreds of volunteer hours organizing, scheduling, developing the website/media, and managing the finances, ALL for the love of our sport, our soccer families, and our community. This in turn, allows OUR membership to maintain their physical fitness, conditioning, soccer skills, and maintain and improve their mental health through participation in a sport and soccer community that THEY love.
This was a common theme echoed by every member that I spoke to. This announced closure comes at a time when we are all just starting to recover from the shutdowns associated with COVID 19 and would be devastating to many (in so many ways) but particularly regarding their mental health.
“A preliminary engineering study has been completed on the facility, and a further detailed report is being commissioned; however, there were significant concerns raised regarding the structural integrity of the building when there is a snowpack on the roof.
Specifically, the report stated “As the existing roof does not currently have sufficient capacity to support the current design snow loading, it is recommended that the overall snow loading on the building should be limited while it remains in use until a complete structural analysis of the building can be completed… and the removal of snow from existing roofs can be a difficult and costly process to complete, the requirement to do so should be considered as part of the life cycle analysis for the main building.”
Under these circumstances, it is not financially or operationally viable to keep the facility open when there is snow on the roof.”
Which leads me to a few questions / comments for the City of Salmon Arm and their managing partners;
1) In this preliminary report, the engineering firm has provided the City of Salmon Arm and their managing partners, The Shuswap Recreation Society, a concern and a solution. Snow loading (the concern) / snow removal (the solution). This seems to be very simple issue to solve;
- a) Heat the building, or more specifically, heat the raised roof portion of the building during any snow loading to allow the snow to melt. There are existing gas lines in the building for heaters that have not worked properly in years. These lines could easily be re-routed to new heaters (or re-conditioning the old ones) that could be specifically used for this purpose and only when needed.
- b) Remove the snow manually after each snowfall.
2) What will the City of Salmon Arm and Shuswap Recreation Society do IF there is a snowfall?
- a) Are you going to let the building collapse? The decision by the City of Salmon Arm to close the SASCU Indoor Facility at first snowfall (regardless of the actual load) seems to indicate that this is an imminent risk.
- a) In the preliminary report, it is indicated that there will be a complete structural analysis done (at some point). It seems the City of Salmon Arm already has some obligation to follow the engineer’s recommendation of limiting snow load to allow this report to be completed.
- b) IF there MUST be some mitigation, would it be better to have the user groups help offset these costs (1.a or 1.b) with their rental fees?
3) Where has all the money* that has been spent in the rental of the SASCU Indoor Complex gone?
- a) It has yet to be allocated to the maintenance or upgrading of the SASCU Indoor Complex. Over the many years we have been renting this facility, we have seen minimal maintenance of this building or playing surface (which was donated and fundraised for by the user groups themselves).
- b) A portion of the revenue should have been spent maintaining and addressing any issues to keep this community asset viable and generating revenue.
- c) The cost to solve this “concern” is MINIMAL compared to the loss the community (about 15-20% of our total population – both directly and indirectly) would suffer due to the closure of the SASCU Indoor Complex.
- d) ANY investment in the SASCU Indoor Complex should be looked at as a stop gap to a future venue (which had been proposed a few years ago) and as continued investment into supporting our growing community (and taxpayers).
“The overall safety and well being of the users of our facilities is, and will always be, the priority of the City and the Shuswap Recreation Society.”
4) IF, the City of Salmon Arm and the Shuswap Recreation Society were genuinely concerned about the safety and well being of the users of the SASCU Indoor Complex, this could have approached in a much different manner.
- a) Was there no indication or forewarning that could have been presented to the user groups of the SASCU Indoor Complex PRIOR to us signing contracts with the Shuswap Recreation Society? At the very least, this would have given us choices and allowed us to limit the financial costs associated with organizing and purchasing insurance for the year.
- b) Have the simple solutions to the engineer’s concerns been thoughtfully considered?
- c) Has the City of Salmon Arm truly considered the impact on the community’s mental and physical health (and the costs associated with that) versus the concern (as stated in the Preliminary Report) versus the minimal investment (1.a. or 1.b.) required to mitigate and address the current issue facing the SASCU Indoor Complex and its users? This decision could and will have a major impact on our community for years to come.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read our concerns and comments and we kindly request the opportunity to meet with you and the council members, as well as other relevant City of Salmon Arm officials, to discuss this issue as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence as snowfall is imminent.
Thank you in advance,
Shuswap Co-Ed League /
Salmon Arm Soccer Organizer