The Red Deer City Soccer Association has put ambitious plans to build a soccer dome on hold for now.
A development permit application for the 94,300-square-foot dome, large enough for four seven-on-seven soccer fields or one full-size 11-on-11 field, was pulled shortly before it was to go before Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission Tuesday.
“Right now, the status is kind of up in the air,” said association first vice-present Geordin Flett. “We’re exploring our options.”
The association was proposing to build the dome as a joint venture with the German Canadian Club on their property just west of Highway 2 near the county’s Green Acres and Corner Gate Estates subdivisions. It was expected to cost around $4.5 million to build.
However, the soccer dome proposal was not supported by county planners, who recommended it be turned down because of the impact it could have on neighbours and because it was not a good fit with other land uses in the area.
The dome was better suited for a commercial site than on agriculture-zoned land, said planners in their recommendation to deny approval.
The proposal also did not sit well with some area landowners, who feared that not enough parking was proposed and vehicles would spill out onto surrounding roads and into nearby subdivisions.
Residents also voiced concerns the traffic generated by the facility would create safety issues and congestion on roads often used by pedestrians. Noise from the facility was also identified as a potential nuisance.
In all, seven letters of concern were received by Red Deer County.
Flett said given the local reaction and the county’s list of two dozen conditions for approval, the association decided to take another look at its plans.
“Our business case was based on a tight budget,” he said.
“This was Phase 1. We’re going to have to make some tough decisions if we move on to Phase 2 and what that will look like in the future.”
The association says there is a need for a soccer facility of this kind. There are only three full-size non-boarded indoor soccer pitches in Alberta — two in Edmonton and one in Calgary. Local competitive teams have been travelling to Edmonton to play all of their games on full-sized pitches.
Westerner Park has an indoor field big enough to play seven aside, but it is only available 14 weeks a year. Collicutt Centre has two five-on-five indoor soccer fields that are already at full capacity.