West Kelowna  

New West Kelowna sports dome opened Saturday

Pricey pitch opens to public

Almost three years after the ball first got rolling, the new West Kelowna sports dome opened to the public Saturday, costing more than four times its original budget.

The West Kelowna Multi Sport Centre, similar to the inflatable dome by Kelowna's H2O Centre, will be used for a variety of sports, including soccer, baseball and football.

“Various sports organizations were looking for a facility that can be used in the evening, during the spring and fall when it gets darker in the evening, and also during the winter months when it's raining or snowing out,” said West Kelowna mayor Gord Milson.

“Where children can play their various sports throughout the winter in a nice warm environment.”

The dome will open for soccer next weekend, and to kick things off, former Canadian national soccer player Melissa Tancredi will be in attendance.

The project began back in 2017 when the Westside Youth Soccer Association secured a $400,000 grant from the province. The organization raised an additional $267,000 on their own for the sports dome, and the City agreed to foot the rest of the bill.

Initially, the dome was budgeted at $1 million, so that “rest of the bill” came to $333,000. On Saturday, Milsom said the total cost of the project ballooned to $4.1 million, and the City of West Kelowna spent more than $3.4 million.

The increasing costs on the project has been the subject of several letters from unhappy residents over the years.

Milsom, who was elected mayor in 2018, said he thinks “there was no real science behind” the initial $1 million estimate.

“We have a parking lot, we have a washroom, so we have a state-of-the-art facility,” Milsom said. “There's no way that it could be built for a million dollars.”

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