Frank exchange of views over new Falklands sports facility

Chair of the Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association Mike Summers (pictured), has responded to criticism from Member of the Legislative Assembly Barry Elsby over the planning of the proposed new sports facility on the edge of Stanley.

Speaking at a Public Meeting at the Town Hall this week, MLA Elsby said: “I have serious concerns that we are building a shed without fully understanding its long-term use. The lack of [spectator] facility for people to view is difficult to justify. The biggest sports club in the islands doesn’t seem to have been asked the detailed questions it should have been asked to present the options for hockey.”
Earlier in the meeting MLA Roger Edwards had outlined plans for the new sports site. “It will consist of an indoor facility and outdoor football pitch and possibly have a running track around it. There will be changing facilities and toilets but not showers. There will be room for spectators. A simple shed with a multi-purpose floor in it and an outdoor area with floodlights … We had a separate proposal that came from the ice hockey folks. In the plans that we saw there is no permanent ice rink facility.”
MLA Elsby went on to voice further concerns. “I think there is still work to do before we commit ourselves to spending what is many millions of pounds, with the option I’m afraid of having to then modify it as soon as it’s built. So I have yet to be convinced that what is on offer is the right thing.
Speaking to Penguin News, FIOGA Chair Mike Summers addressed MLA Elsby’s comments. “FIOGA and the Project Board are entirely satisfied that we understand the long-term use of the proposed facilities. What we cannot foresee however (and nobody can) is the growth and changes to patterns of use of the new facilities once they are built. We have been encouraging a design and layout that has the possibility of being extended in future stages if there is demand and funds are available. 
“There have been extensive discussions between Mark Cook and several of the sports clubs who would benefit from the new facility, specifically including hockey. One major piece of the new building would be set up for indoor hockey.
“The Project Board met with all MLAs (except Dr Elsby who I am told was on holiday) recently to discuss the project in full, and we reached a firm conclusion which enables us to proceed with detailed design and layout. Once this is complete we will be able to go to clubs for final discussions before procurement. MLAs too will undoubtedly wish to comment on the final design.
“This project has always been predicated on a requirement to assist and develop as many sports as possible, including hockey, a principle that Dr Elsby himself was keen to promote in the conceptual stages.”
At the Public Meeting on September 24, MLA Roger Spink closed the discussion, saying: “I would think before any decision is made we’re going to have to make a presentation to people to get a wider range of views.”