Community fundraising effort launching towards new lights at Dunnville Soccer Complex

DUNNVILLE— It’s been three years since the field lights at the Dunnville Soccer Complex (park) were deemed unsafe and removed. Now, a community fundraising initiative is being launched by the Dunnville Soccer Park Corporation (DSPC) towards the goal of replacing those lights with new, energy-efficient LED light arrays.

Currently, the park is utilized by two groups, Dunnville Youth Soccer and Dunnville United Soccer Club, both of which offer programming for residents of Dunnville and the surrounding area. 

Under the current arrangement, DSPC leases the grounds, with total financial responsibility for “the construction of the soccer playing fields and all other improvements to the premises,” and as such, the group is not eligible for CPP grant funding, according to a staff report on the matter.

However, according to that same report, the current Executive of the DSPC plans to terminate that lease and join Haldimand’s Field and Parks Management Program as a “funded partner for the County-owned portion of the soccer park.”

As such, County staff have recommended conditional approval of a CPP grant towards the project, covering 35% of the overall cost.

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In addition to adding the lights, part of the project will involve straightening the existing light poles at the park, which have all developed a slight lean since their initial installation in 2004. According to a structural engineering report commissioned in 2020, the poles themselves remain viable for retrofitting, substantially cutting down on the overall cost of the project. 

Since the poles were installed without a concrete base, minimal excavation is required to straighten them, with staff projecting an anticipated cost of less than $10,000 for that portion of the project.

In total the project has a projected cost of $168,000. While the CPP grant will cover $58,200 of that amount, the remaining $109,200 (or 65%) will be raised through community contributions.

“Those lights are definitely needed. I’ve been to a lot of games there where the sun goes down and you’re kind of at a loss. It will be nice to see lights on the field. This is going to require some fundraising from the community, so this is a good kick off to that,” said Ward 6 Councillor Patrick O’Neill at a Council meeting last week.

According to a letter of understanding between Haldimand and the DSPC, the project must have all necessary funds deposited with the County, who will manage the funds, before work can commence.

For the community fundraising portion, DSPC plans to work with Community Development and Partnerships staff, who will help the proponents develop a detailed fundraising plan, while identifying opportunities to access third party grants, corporate support, and community/grassroots fundraising.

According to the staff report, while DSPC will be “involved at all stages of development of the project, County staff will be ultimately responsible for overseeing the detailed design development, tender, inspections, and eventual construction,” once all funding is in place.

As of publication, no information is yet available on how members of the community can contribute to the fundraising effort for the project. The Press will provide further details as they become available.