Calgary's Genesis Centre should have an artificial turf field, says city councillor

A city councillor in northeast Calgary says it's time for a small but important upgrade to sports facilities in that quadrant of the city.

Coun. George Chahal will ask his colleagues Monday to vote in favour of putting $2 million toward an artificial turf sports field next to the Genesis Centre on Falconridge Boulevard N.E.

Chahal said the grass fields there are in poor condition and a multi-purpose field is badly needed for various sports and community events.

"We got a grass field which the grass ain't growing," he said. "It's been closed off with fencing numerous times this year, trying to get the grass to grow and it's just not catching and we've had many users open up the fence to go play there because there's no other place to go. I mean kids need a place to go play."

Left photo: CBC, right photo: Google Maps

An artificial turf field could be converted for various sports, like basketball, tennis and street hockey, said Chahal, and the space could also be used for parking during large events.

"I think the important part about this field, it would also double sometimes for community celebration space, with having lighting and bleachers that are in place," he said. 

Given the fast-growing population in the northeast, he said residents should have better access to quality sports facilities. Chahal pointed out a nearby Attainable Homes project will see 116 units built. 

"So we need the appropriate infrastructure. I think this is a good way to take existing infrastructure that needs significant repair, to upgrade it to something that would benefit the whole community," he said.

"This is a huge deal for the community, this is one of 78 high quality fields that are in disrepair, we do not have the quality of fields like other parts of the city."

The field is one of three on the west side of the facility, next to a parking lot. 

Chahal's proposal calls for funding to come from the city's Fiscal Stability Reserve — the so-called rainy day fund — and he says the city should also look for other government and private partners to make the project a reality.

He says the field and related facilities could be managed by staff at the nearby Genesis Centre.