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West Amherst property favoured for new sportsplex facility


AMHERST – The former parade ground property in West Amherst has been selected as the favoured location for a new all-weather turf sports facility for use by soccer, football and other sports organizations.

Andy Wallis of the Cumberland Sportsplex Development Society appeared before Amherst council’s December committee-of-the-whole committee to provide an update on his committee’s progress and how it intends to move forward with funding applications for provincial and federal financial support.

Wallis told council the committee’s first preferred site was the former Enheat site near downtown Amherst, but it was unable to negotiate an acceptable purchase price with its owner, Doug Polley.

He said the former parade ground opposite the Boomer Loop in West Amherst was identified by the Municipality of Cumberland for having potential recreational use. Wallis said the property, at 29 acres, is ideal for what his group wants to accomplish.

The committee, that has been meeting regularly since September, is suggesting a regulation all-weather turf field as well as a second natural gas field, lighting and a small field house.

Wallis said his committee is preparing a draft memorandum of understanding between his organization, the town and the Municipality of Cumberland. That memorandum, he added, would be similar to one used at the new arena-community centre in Truro that’s run jointly by the Town of Truro and Municipality of Colchester.

He suggested the facility would be operated with a management structure that’s similar to the Cumberland YMCA that has both town and county representation.

Moving ahead, Wallis said some geotechnical work is needed at the preferred site and the committee is working on its funding applications. He would hope to be in a position to launch a capital campaign, with municipal, federal and provincial contributions, in the spring.

Wallis said it would take nine to 12 weeks to build the project, that the society estimates will cost $2 million. He’s hoping to have shovels in the ground in time for next year’s federal election.

He is urging the town and county hold a joint council session early in 2015 to consider the memorandum and support the project the committee

Deputy Mayor George Baker asked if the committee considered building a dome similar ton what’s in place in Truro and Lantz.

Wallis said a dome is not feasible because of the cost to keep it inflated and heated.

 

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