This week, Council met in General Committee and we had before us a delegation from the Aurora Barbarians Rugby Club. They came before Council to propose the idea of building a second artificial turf at Sheppards Bush as well as a clubhouse. As part of the “ask” to Council, the Club will provide investment of their own funds to help fund the building the amount of 1 million for the turf field and 750k to build the clubhouse. The great thing about this proposal is the support of the club for this initiative. We don’t often get a proponent or organization bringing large amounts of funding to the table to support a proposal.
I found this proposal very intriguing as it would not only provide a new home for the Barbarians, but it would add another turf field. Due to their durability, turf fields can be used for longer periods through the year; thus this proposal would create a new sports amenity in our Town that would be very attractive for tournament play and further support our sports tourism goals.
While I think this proposal is an exciting possibility, we need to evaluate it within the context of impacts to existing users and other sports organizations. The proposal did speak to how current field users would not be displaced but rather enhance the amount of time fields in this area can be used. Council discussion and evaluation would need to consider how the initiative builds on existing programs and amenities with a focus on ensuring that all our sports organizations continue to flourish and that it is a benefit for our youth, sports programming and the community as a whole.
Council moved a motion under new business “That Staff review and investigate the proposal from the Aurora Barbarians Rugby Football Club, and report back to Council with options and recommendations” this motion passed unanimously (will need to be ratified at Council). I am looking forward to seeing the report from staff and looking forward to not only working with the Barbarians in a partnership but to continue to work with all our sports organizations. This is a great opportunity for our town to provide more services more opportunities for our youth to excel in sports and continue our grow sport tourism in Aurora. More to come on this….