Puslinch Township councillors remain committed to new soccer field in Aberfoyle

ABERFOYLE – Puslinch council is committed to having a new soccer field at the Puslinch Community Centre by the end of 2020.

On March 6, Bruce Joy of Puslinch Minor Soccer asked council for an update on what is happening in the back fields of the community centre.

Joy explained Puslinch has a minor soccer club but  there is no adult league. He noted the club has about 500 members, with about 50 per cent from Puslinch.

For younger players the existing fields are divided into “mini” fields to accommodate the players.

Joy added the club also utilizes fields at the Arkell Church and at Badenoch.

“Currently the Township of Puslinch has two soccer fields with two proposed fields to be developed,” he said.

Puslinch Minor Soccer currently uses five additional fields the club helps to maintain, “But those fields are not ideal because not all are in the best shape. And because we don’t own the land, we can’t really do much additional work to the fields,” said Joy.

He added the Puslinch Soccer Club allocated $10,000 to help develop soccer fields and the club hopes to allocate an additional $5,000 to $10,0000.

Joy added the club also spoke to various corporations, some of which asked about the potential of in-kind donations such as labour or materials.

Director of public works Don Creed stated in-kind donations would not fit into tenders for the overall project. He added the entire back area at the centre will be graded.

Though the overall park project is about $600,000, the soccer fields represent only $150,000 of that amount. Other items in the overall project include a parking lot, drainage at Maple Lane, a concrete walking trail and more.

Joy said the soccer club is ready to champion fundraising for the additional funds needed to complete the soccer field.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer said the additional work proposed supports not only the soccer field, but other recreational activities.

“There’s got to be a way we can make this happen,” Bulmer said.

Councillor John Sepulis asked staff to estimate the parkland dedication fees anticipated for this year and next. Sepulis said he understood the budget only accounted for $40,000. 

If those numbers were available,  Sepulis said the township would have a better grasp on how much could be spent – “But if we don’t do this now, it is not going to happen.”

Sepulis pointed out the overall plan before council includes several options that can be deleted if funding is not available. 

He noted one of the major costs for the soccer fields is regrading the land, “which is much more extensive than anticipated. Simple grading and sodding will not accomplish what we are looking for.”

Councillor Ken Roth said it is difficult to have such projects dependent on grants.

He explained that to qualify for the grants, the project is required to be engineered.

Roth added council “is committed to getting you a soccer field – it’s been a long time coming. Hopefully we’ll have the soccer fields by the end of 2020.”

Mayor James Seeley also supports construction of the soccer field, noting, “If the funding does not come through, we can still make it happen.”

His main concern is that not all of the parkland dedication funds are spent on soccer. 

“There are other recreational communities in our township which need funding. I want to work with the whole community,” Seeley said.

In later discussion, council approved the scope and general arrangement of the final design (for the soccer field) in order to finalize the contract documents and to proceed with the issuance of the request for tender.

The township has a public meeting scheduled for May 16 regarding phases 1 and 2 of the Puslinch Community Centre Park Master Plan.