Rather than spend more than $100,000 on new change room facilities at Pitt Meadows secondary, staff should find a way to allow community sports teams to access the school change rooms, argued Trustee Ken Clarkson.
The entire cost of the project will be borne by the City of Pitt Meadows.
Clarkson warned his colleagues the decision brought poor optics – government spending money on facilities that already exist on the same site could be perceived by taxpayers as waste, he suggested.
“We have to change, because there’s only one taxpayer.”
He was outvoted by his Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board peers last Wednesday.
“I agree with you, but the issue isn’t as black and white as you’ve made out,” responded trustee Dave Rempel.
The synthetic field at PMSS was built in 2010. An addition to the school was planned to provide more change room space, but the $300,000 cost would have put the project over budget by about $150,000.
So, $150,000 was put into a reserve to allow time for city staff and community groups to explore sponsorship opportunities. They have not been able to come up with more funding.
There have been conflicts with the current situation. Some West Coast Auto Group Football Club games are not permitted to be played at a field where there are no change rooms, under league rules. So, the soccer club is in frequent negotiations to gain access to the school.
If there are school teams using the gym, as there often are, they get priority access to the change rooms.
Staff at Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows parks and leisure services received a quote for $75,000 for a portable change room.
The proposed building will be a 15-by-3.6 metres prefabricated, stand-alone building. It will provide enough seating for players, as well as a washroom and four showers in each change room. The installation of the portable is estimated to cost $30,000, which will include water, sewer and hydro service connections.
School board staff approved placement of a portable beside the field, and it will be shared by the school and the community.