A giant white soccer dome that was erected in January has recently become a white hot topic in Rutland.
Rod Charlesworth, who lives beside Rutland Senior Secondary School, has lost his view of the hills and the sports that he used to watch from the front row seat on his patio.
“The thing is so ugly, it doesn’t fit into the neighborhood (esthetically),” Charlesworth said. “I’m not against sports, we moved here because we like to watch the kids on the field, I just wish we had some say in it.”
The soccer dome that is owned and run by the Kelowna United Football Club was installed on what was previously a gravel field and gave students and the community a place to go and be active during the cold winter months.
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“It’s excellent for the whole sports community and for Rutland,” Rachelle Kaeting said while watching her child’s soccer game. ” The kids don’t have anywhere else to practice, there’s just too many teams. I can’t think of anywhere better, it’s right by the school and the YMCA.”
The sports facility is temporary, only being used during the winter months, and deflated for spring, summer and fall.
Kevin Kaardal, the superintendent of Central Okanagan Public Schools said Kelowna United Football Club followed proper procedures when constructing the dome, working closely with the city. And, he said, it was not a secret project.
“(The soccer dome) gets students doing great things, team sports in the Rutland area —it’s very positive,” said Kaardal. “I am very empathetic, we are now in contact, now that we have been contacted and are trying to come to a compromise.”
The community-building effect the soccer dome has had on Rutland outweighs any inconvenience for a staff group home that also backs onto the Rutland Senior Secondary School.
“We had intermittent sounds, either from the fans or gas meter, they were sort of alien sounds…they ran all the time,” said Justin McCartney, one of the staff in the home.
“The sound has subsided though…but when people are in there it’s very loud, the material is not very sound resistant so if you wanted to have a quiet night on your patio, you couldn’t do that.”
Students at Rutland Senior Secondary School are allowed to use the facility during the day as “rent” for use of the land since the Kelowna United Football Club does not operate the building for profit.
The Kelowna United Football Club could not be reached in time for comment.