Storm dashes soccer dreams

John
John Browne
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Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

The indoor soccer pitch that was under construction in Pleasantville collapsed late Wednesday following a day of extremely high winds and snow. Investigators will try to determine the exact cause over the next few days.- Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

The indoor soccer pitch that was under construction in Pleasantville collapsed late Wednesday following a day of extremely high winds and snow. Investigators will try to determine the exact cause over the next few days. Here co-owner of the building, Jim

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on January 15, 2009

Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Under construction, $7.1-M Pleasantville indoor facility collapses

"It's gut wrenching," said Jim Buckingham as he stood in the snow and inspected the remnants of his dream.

Winds, gusting at times to more than 100 kilometres an hour and a snowfall of close to 15 centimetres, combined to bring down the steel frame structure of the new indoor soccer facility in Pleasantville Wednesday evening.

"It's gut wrenching," said Jim Buckingham as he stood in the snow and inspected the remnants of his dream.

Winds, gusting at times to more than 100 kilometres an hour and a snowfall of close to 15 centimetres, combined to bring down the steel frame structure of the new indoor soccer facility in Pleasantville Wednesday evening.

"It's all gone. It's a total write-off - a hundred per cent loss," said an obviously distraught Buckingham.

"I've got everything I own on this ... my house, my business, my car, my cabin. ... I had everything riding on this," Buckingham said.

"John Breen is here and he's heartbroken," Buckingham said of the other co-owner who was also at the site to survey the damage. "Right now, it doesn't get any lower."

Some construction vehicles were inside the facility when it collapsed, but the damage is unknown and no injuries were reported.

"Even the foundation is destroyed. The bolts were torn out of the foundation," Buckingham said in trying to describe the level of destruction to the $7.1-million facility.

"The structure just couldn't take it. There were still four trusses to be put up," he explained.

Ground was broken Sept. 25 on the privately held facility, owned by Buckingham, Breen and a corporate partner known as Olineolyn Ltd. The structure is adjacent to the softball fields at the Caribou Complex in Pleasantville.

Insurance was carried, but Buckingham said he's still paying interest. "Prices go up, you know that. Our insurance will go up. We had a fixed-price contract which was negotiated a while ago. Since then, labour and materials have gone up."

The $7.1 million is already double the cost initially quoted when the group first considered the project over a year ago.

Land and necessary permits were provided free of charge from the City of St. John's, but no provincial or federal government funding was secured for its construction. The structure was to be 214 feet wide by 336 feet long and was to have included six change rooms.

Despite the setback, Buckingham says he hasn't given up on his dream.

"We're going to rebuild, there's no doubt about it, but it won't be until next fall," he said.

"It's going up, but it's going to take a little longer.

"We're going to move forward. The biggest loser is the young people. This was for them," said Buckingham. "Our school teams and Canada Games teams were going to train here. All those programs and plans are gone at this point."

This is the second big setback for provincial soccer in the past few months. The FieldTurf at King George V Park in St. John's was destroyed following heavy rains that flooded the $3.5-million pitch last month.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Olineolyn, Canada Games, FieldTurf

Geographic location: Pleasantville, St. John's, King George V Park

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • William
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    This is sad. These two men are pillar volunteers in the sporting community. They have always been there to provide financial help to school age and junior sporting teams, providing funds, equipment, uniforms, etc. John & Jim deserve to see their dream built.
    I hope everything works out for you guys.

  • Pen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    This is sad really. It seems like its one thing after the other when it comes to soccer in this province.

  • Timboy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I was surprised to read this story as I was under the impression that the fitness centre of excellence off Crosbie Rd. was also to have indoor soccer facilities.

    I totally support this man in very way as a former soccer player I know we hated playing some tournaments on concrete hockey rinks in the spring!. Hope it all works out well. Anyway good luck to Mr. Buckingham

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    On the bright side, at least you have Mile One stadium you can use in a pinch, if it isn't booked up!

    Seriously, just quit fighting where you live! Take up a sport that you can play outdoors in wind, sleet and fog.

    World champs, baby!

  • Flippy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I drove by this thing many a time and thought this was the proverbial straw house. I pondered why anyone would time the construction of this thing to be at this vulnerable stage in the middle of a Newfoundland January.

    He probably should've hired a good structural engineer, who knows this province's climate, to do the planning. As it stands (or lays) now, it looks like some engineering firm has done some damage to their reputation. Imagine, not anticipating the unpredictability of a Newfoundland winter...

    It's too bad he had everything he owned riding on this thing. I guess if you want to make big money you must take big chances (but not foolish ones). Nice effort though.

  • GD
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    You foolish NL people - not even able to prevent this

  • Saddened
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    This is terrible. The province of Newfoundland has such potential as being a very competitive at national level (as seen at the Jubilee Cup) but it is just lacking resources.

    With the advent of the Crosbie Road training center and John and Jim's indoor facility it is on the right road to bringing NL soccer up to speed.

    We need to be able to train our athletes year round like the rest of the country. I truly hope that John and Jim don't give up on this dream of theirs. The soccer community of NL needs this and we appreciate everything that they have done.

    I hope they get some funding from the powers that be to get this back on track.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    This is really sad, I actually live across the street from this area and I watched them break ground, put up the steel and with a gust of wind she comes tumbling down. What a sin. Good thing no one was hurt. Good luck John and Jim with your dream.

  • Thank god there were no
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Thank goodness no loss of life.

    it would probaly have gone down in a similar wind storm with young children playing inside.

    And now that th especial weather contract with AMEC shows they couldn't/didn't forecast the awful rain last month, this wind storm could have been missed.

    Just awful, but thank god no children were crushed inside.

  • William
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    This is sad. These two men are pillar volunteers in the sporting community. They have always been there to provide financial help to school age and junior sporting teams, providing funds, equipment, uniforms, etc. John & Jim deserve to see their dream built.
    I hope everything works out for you guys.

  • Pen
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    This is sad really. It seems like its one thing after the other when it comes to soccer in this province.

  • Timboy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I was surprised to read this story as I was under the impression that the fitness centre of excellence off Crosbie Rd. was also to have indoor soccer facilities.

    I totally support this man in very way as a former soccer player I know we hated playing some tournaments on concrete hockey rinks in the spring!. Hope it all works out well. Anyway good luck to Mr. Buckingham

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    On the bright side, at least you have Mile One stadium you can use in a pinch, if it isn't booked up!

    Seriously, just quit fighting where you live! Take up a sport that you can play outdoors in wind, sleet and fog.

    World champs, baby!

  • Flippy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I drove by this thing many a time and thought this was the proverbial straw house. I pondered why anyone would time the construction of this thing to be at this vulnerable stage in the middle of a Newfoundland January.

    He probably should've hired a good structural engineer, who knows this province's climate, to do the planning. As it stands (or lays) now, it looks like some engineering firm has done some damage to their reputation. Imagine, not anticipating the unpredictability of a Newfoundland winter...

    It's too bad he had everything he owned riding on this thing. I guess if you want to make big money you must take big chances (but not foolish ones). Nice effort though.

  • GD
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    You foolish NL people - not even able to prevent this

  • Saddened
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    This is terrible. The province of Newfoundland has such potential as being a very competitive at national level (as seen at the Jubilee Cup) but it is just lacking resources.

    With the advent of the Crosbie Road training center and John and Jim's indoor facility it is on the right road to bringing NL soccer up to speed.

    We need to be able to train our athletes year round like the rest of the country. I truly hope that John and Jim don't give up on this dream of theirs. The soccer community of NL needs this and we appreciate everything that they have done.

    I hope they get some funding from the powers that be to get this back on track.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    This is really sad, I actually live across the street from this area and I watched them break ground, put up the steel and with a gust of wind she comes tumbling down. What a sin. Good thing no one was hurt. Good luck John and Jim with your dream.

  • Thank god there were no
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Thank goodness no loss of life.

    it would probaly have gone down in a similar wind storm with young children playing inside.

    And now that th especial weather contract with AMEC shows they couldn't/didn't forecast the awful rain last month, this wind storm could have been missed.

    Just awful, but thank god no children were crushed inside.