Jordan Pagacz’s field of dreams is a large, grassy bowl amid hilly pasture land in Red Deer County.
For him, it is the perfect starting point for a paintball park that could eventually grow to three playing fields, a woodlands paintball area and parking lot on a 5.5 acre site.
Pagacz, 26, describes his plans for the site with an enthusiastic, rapid-fire delivery. He envisions a facility where paintball enthusiasts can gather to play their support on a controlled, safe environment and where newcomers can be introduced to the sport. The site 30 km east of Red Deer off Delburne Road also holds potential for corporate team-building getaways and other events.
But first he will have to convince a county subdivision and development appeal board panel on Thursday to overturn a July 6 municipal planning commission decision to deny his application.
County development staff recommended a five-year temporary application. But the commission, which is made up of county council members, heeded concerns from neighbours about noise, traffic, possible impact on property values and other issues and voted not to approve Pagacz’s application.
Ada Fox is Pagacz’s closest neighbour and she remains opposed to a paintball facility next to land she has lived on for 64 years. “I just think it’s too close to all the neighbours around here,” she said. “It’s not a place for it here.
“There are eight families in the area that he’s affecting.”
Fox expects a sizable group of residents will turn out for the appeal hearing.
Pagacz believes the concerns of neighbours can be addressed. The trees, natural topography of the land and a plan to build berms and plant trees will keep noise levels to a minimum. During test games, little could be heard from the edge of his property, he said.
He has already planted 1,200 trees on the property and more will come. “We’re bringing in our own trees. We’re doing things like that. We’re trying to build up to it, but it takes time.
“I understand the noise. I’m not trying to say we don’t create noise.”
But he’s convinced noise can be kept to a minimum and paintball games are not held after 7 p.m. “I, 100 per cent, believe the noise can be manageable.”
Traffic will also not be a problem. On most days, he doubts more than 10 vehicles will be in the parking lot at any time. A new access will be created from a nearby range road so vehicles don’t turn off Delburne Road.
“Basically, most people car pool because they are saving their money for paint ball.”
Pagacz, who started Red Deer’s Outcast Society Paintball in the summer of 2007, is well aware of the negative connotations the sport has attracted. The professional paintball player, who has travelled the world for tournaments, sees his facility as a way to showcase the positive aspects of the sport and introduce new generations to a hobby that is taking off worldwide.