Since the topic is sports, how about discussing the possibility of a trade? Caledonia Park for the Rotary Bowl behind NDSS. Let the teams and organizations that currently play at these venues switch places.
The Vancouver Island Raiders should play in a facility more becoming to their status as a national junior football powerhouse. There have been discussions over the years about allowing the Raiders to play their home games at the Rotary Bowl, where the covered grandstands are similar in quality to that of the Sun Bowl in Kelowna.
Those overtures have been resisted by the Nanaimo Track and Field Club, a devoted but relatively small group of athletes and coaches. One of the reasons was concerns about potential damage to the turf by football cleats.
Would those indentations be any less intrusive than the pounding inflicted by the javelins, discus' and shot puts make when they land during practice and competition? Letting the Raiders make their home at the Rotary Bowl, where they really should be anyway, just makes sense. Nanaimo should have a top quality stadium for an organization that has brought good news and positive headlines to Nanaimo, and could easily host another national championship game.
The crowds that would frequent the Rotary Bowl during their home games would be much more easily accommodated there. Not to mention on the Vancouver Island University side of the track is a grassy knoll that would be perfect for additional seating opportunities.
That would be an immediate solution that would require a minimal amount of civic expenditures. If the track club wants their very own place, then let them go to Caledonia Park.
Both tracks need upgrading, and that's an expensive proposition. That being the case, why not upgrade Caledonia Park's circuit and let the track and field club have that as their domain? The crowds aren't as large as they are for football games, so what is available for parking would be more than suitable. It's tucked out of the way, and cozy. A great place to run and jump.
The cost of upgrading Caledonia for the Raiders would be around $3 million, as reported in the Daily News. A new track, close to $1 million. By doing one, not two, the taxpayers save.
That way, the track at Rotary Bowl wouldn't have to be upgraded. The football team doesn't need a track.
It is becoming painfully obvious that Nanaimo's recreational facilities are not suitable for the size of the city and its projected growth. Playing fields, pitches and rinks are an important part of a city's social infrastructure, providing important space for people to play and blow off steam and stress after work.
If the city were to focus on attracting tournaments in the winter, for example, there is already a dearth of ice slots available on weekends, which would be the prime time for
events involving out of town teams.
Frank Crane Arena at Beban Park is nearing 40 years of age, and although it underwent a retro-fit a few years ago, it is not suitable for the types of entertainment and events that a city of our size should rightfully attract. It needs to be replaced by a multiplex.
In the meantime, having the Raiders move to Rotary Bowl, with the track club there, or without them, would be a much more economical solution to which offers immediate relief and a positive future.
Let them share the Rotary Bowl. Or switch.
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