So, just to get them to to their practices and games, our “local” teams require about 300 kilometres of commuting, per week. That’s like adding a trip to Calgary to our mileage, every week.
Because there is a lack of game-ready, tournament-ready facilities in the core of the city, having kids and living close to downtown will just add to the pressure to have a car. For example, if your child plays baseball at a competitive level, he or she will likely play “home” games at either Callingwood (by the West Edmonton Mall), Rundle Park (Victoria Trail, east end) or in Mill Woods.
During the half day of Lewis Farms debate, council was warned that ice rinks are fully booked. Administration told council that in prime-time, the average sheet of ice in Edmonton is only available for public skating one hour per week.
As a basketball coach, I know how the Saville Centre is jammed on Saturdays, with games back to back to back. Finding a parking spot on Saturday at Saville is about as hard as finding one at West Edmonton Mall during the Christmas rush. We would sometimes play games at a school gym in Beaumont. That’s right, two Edmonton teams, facing off in Beaumont, 25 kilometres south of downtown. Or, we’d use school gyms in St. Albert. But, COVID has restricted the use of school gyms, as administrators have become a lot more vigilant (understandably so) about who uses the facilities.
Well-maintained rec facilities, gyms, soccer fields and baseball diamonds mean a lot to a city, and not just for house leagues. We often talk about big events, like the economic impact of hosting a Grey Cup, or the failed bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. But, do we often think of the number of tournaments and provincial championships hosted by our sports organizations?