Pitches near the airport in use again this spring

Kenn Oliver
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Since games were first played there, the soccer fields near the old Torbay Rec Centre has been regarded as the best by soccer and rugby teams who have used it regularly for competition and training.

The fields were built by government in the 1970s and have been among the first to open each season, providing teams with a chance to get out and begin training earlier than usual.

Since games were first played there, the soccer fields near the old Torbay Rec Centre has been regarded as the best by soccer and rugby teams who have used it regularly for competition and training.

The fields were built by government in the 1970s and have been among the first to open each season, providing teams with a chance to get out and begin training earlier than usual.

"We've been using them for years," says provincial rugby coach Pat Parfrey.

"They're the best training fields in the province. At this time of year when the weather is damp and the grass is starting to grow, it's the field you can start earliest on."

Not long after the provincial government closed the doors on the building in 2002, the recently privatized St. John's International Airport Authority took over management of the land. Since then, soccer and rugby have continued to use the fields for training various provincial all-star sides.

Last spring, all-star minor soccer teams were forced to cancel a game at the field because the Airport Authority had placed piece of heavy equipment on the field.

"At that point, we were not aware of who was using the field," says Marie Manning, director of marketing and community relations for the airport.

"We were not aware anything was happening that weekend, and we had placed some equipment on the field.

"We understand there were groups under the assumption that the field was still with the provincial government.

"It's important for us to know if anyone is using any of our land because we're liable. If we don't know who is using it and no one informs us, then how do we know if they have insurance or not?

After negotiations with the province's Department of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, the equipment was moved and teams had use of the pitches for the remainder of the season.

With the season fast approaching and provincial teams eager to get on the field, the two sides recently worked out a similar deal early that will see teams once again avail of the fields starting next weekend.

"We've been working with them for a few months to understand what their needs are," says Manning.

"We've come to an arrangement with them and we've allowed them to use it for this year."

Government, according to Manning, has only requested the fields for this year.

A representative from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation could not be reached for comment.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: International Airport Authority, Department of Culture, Department of Tourism

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Soccer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    The facility is not as rosy as this article suggests. The playing surface isn't bad (by local standards anyway)..the grass is good compared to most places.... but the facility itself is in poor shape ... the fence is falling down and is a safety hazard... there are no dressing rooms or washrooms (only portable toilets) .. and you need a Hummer to safely navigate the parking lot. The province really needs to take a serious look at a new training facility for their elite rugby and soccer athletes.

  • Soccer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    The facility is not as rosy as this article suggests. The playing surface isn't bad (by local standards anyway)..the grass is good compared to most places.... but the facility itself is in poor shape ... the fence is falling down and is a safety hazard... there are no dressing rooms or washrooms (only portable toilets) .. and you need a Hummer to safely navigate the parking lot. The province really needs to take a serious look at a new training facility for their elite rugby and soccer athletes.