Covered lacrosse box could solve arena space crunch

There's just enough space for all Nanaimo's lacrosse teams to practise, and now the city will look at creating one more place to play.

The Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission approved Wednesday the creation of a steering committee for a covered lacrosse box at Harewood Centennial Park.

Last month's challenges of trying to schedule lacrosse, hockey, roller derby and other sports into four arenas made another playing surface more of a priority, said parks commissioners including city councillors Diana Johnstone and Ted Greves.

"That would be something, perhaps, that I would be championing," said Greves. "We need to have another dry floor."

According to his report, received by the commission last week, a covered facility would cost an estimated $1.25 million, not including potential site upgrades to the parking lot and changerooms.

"You can't have something that's just going to be a flimsy setup and you're going to end up wrecking the darn thing," Greves said.

It would be used quite often, he said, by lacrosse, ball hockey, roller derby and other groups.

Brian Boas, president of Nanaimo District Lacrosse Association, said a covered box would be "definitely beneficial" to his club, especially at this time of year, when lacrosse is anxious to start its season but ice is still in the arenas. Minor lacrosse has been utilizing the Lions Sports Centre outdoor box on Wall Street.

"On Tuesday we were out in the rain and it was just sopping wet, but we need to get our evaluations done here, we need to have our teams picked," Boas said. "We've been out here for the last two weeks, some good nights, some bad nights. We're dealing with it."

The covered dry floor steering committee will be created immediately, but there is no timeline for the project.

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