Soccer players could be playing under a weather-proof dome by fall if a Red Deer County-based company’s proposal comes through.
Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved a development permit for up to a 124,663-square-foot sports dome to be built in Energy Business Park on the east side of Hwy 2 near Gasoline Alley.
“The business model we have to is to develop athletes, multi-sport primarily non-winter sport athletes,” said Noah Welch, of The Dome Sports Ltd.
“We feel that hockey is very well served in Alberta but baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby are starving for A: a facility like this in Central Alberta but also for quality coaching.”
“We’re putting together a high-quality local group of coaches and trainers to help these kids fall in love with sports and to just give them what they need to get to the next level.”
Welch said that if a local baseball player shows promise and wants to train and practise to be an elite athlete they often have to go to warmer communities, such as Okotoks, B.C. in the winter.
“I’m pushing for being open in the fall. These structures go up fairly quick.”
The group is still looking for more investors to help bankroll the project expected to cost about $8 million. The dome proposed to the county is the largest version. Smaller versions may be pursued depending on how the search for investors goes.
“We have different sizes and the cool thing about these domes is you can deflate them, bring them down and kind of weld together more fabric and expand your building that way.
“This is really a game changer for Central Alberta,” he said.
The planning commission approved a 75 per cent parking relaxation after reassurances that the 258 stalls proposed, plus an overflow parking lot with about the same number of spaces, would be enough for any events.
“This is going to be quite a feather to have in our municipality,” said Mayor Jim Wood. “I see there’s definitely a need for these types of facilities.”
Coun. Christine Moore said, “I think it’s a wonderful thing.
“We know that soccer is really growing in this area. It’s in the right place.”
Red Deer City Soccer Association has also proposed building a 94,000-square-foot dome. However, the group decided to review their plans after county planners did not support the proposed location on German Canadian Club property just west of Highway 2 near the county’s Green Acres and Corner Gate Estates subdivisions.