Christian, Milovick share thoughts on plans for dome at Hillside Stadium

“There is nothing concrete about how this thing might move forward, with us as partners or otherwise,” Milovick said. “It’s a lot of sort of blue-sky thinking."

Very little appears to be happening on the Hillside Stadium dome front.

KTW learned in October a City of Kamloops staff member completed a facility-related study, which included proposed plans for the dome, but it has not yet been brought to council.

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Matt Milovick, TRU’s vice-president of administration and finance, has had discussions with the city.

“There is nothing concrete about how this thing might move forward, with us as partners or otherwise,” Milovick said. “It’s a lot of sort of blue-sky thinking.

“We will likely be putting together an internal capital proposal around recreational facilities, probably some time in the next 18 months. Whether that includes a dome or not remains to be seen.”

The city’s study is expected to include plans for a dome that looks something like the one at the University of Alberta, only bigger, with cost in the range of $6.5 million and $8 million, although those are rough estimates.

“My understanding was it takes in [covers] both the field and the track and attaches to the TCC,” Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said. “There is a whole ton of logistics about that, in terms of how it connects to the building, where you store it and how you put it up and down.

“I haven’t had an update from facilities people.”

Council chambers were full on Tuesday afternoon when Kamloops businessman Ron Fawcett pitched a $70-million, 103,000-square-foot performing-arts centre.

Does the proposed arts centre have potential to affect how taxpayers feel about paying for a dome?

“I can certainly understand how the taxpayer might think that,” Milovick said. “I guess it depends on what the city is thinking with respect to how it’s funded, who pays for it, the operating model.”

Added Christian: “Ranking arts projects versus sports, I’m not going to go there.

“We’ve got a tremendous investment in sports and recreation. We do not have a similar amount of investment in the arts area.”

Milovick said the dome would have major benefits to the WolfPack and to the Kamloops sports community.

“We could do all kinds of things,” he said. “We’re limited in the winter. We’ve got the gym and that’s it. It’s a challenge.”

The TRU gym is not getting any younger.

“We introduced a concept with our capital planning group on campus to revitalize our old gym,” Milovick told KTW last January. “It’s circa 1980s and starting to show its age. That takes an investment of funds, which we don’t necessarily have right now.”

Plans for gym renovations may be affected by what happens on the dome front.

“If we have the dome, what would that mean?” Milovick said. “If we don’t have the dome, what would that mean?

“Since the TRU gym was built, the university hasn’t added any of its own recreation facilities. We haven’t really moved forward on anything. We’re still continuing to talk about it.”

TRU paid for half of an engineering study that determined it is feasible to build the dome at Hillside.

“That, so far, has been our total contribution,” Milovick said. “There is still a lot of questions that we have and I expect that I’ll be having discussions with the city in the next month or two.”

Christian said Kamloops sports teams and players are often at a disadvantage when playing Lower Mainland teams that can practise year-round.

The mayor noted Tournament Capital athletes are, in some cases, missing out on scholarships because by the time they reach the under-17 level, they have fallen behind many on the Coast, partly due to a lack of space to train during winter.

“It’s a missing piece in our inventory,” Christian said of a dome. “This would just be another amenity that most northern climates have.”

© Kamloops This Week

 

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