Falklands sports facility options on the table

A MULTI-PURPOSE sports arena with an Astroturf surface and a multi-use games arena was the most ambitious of three proposals presented to sports clubs and other individuals interested in the future development of Falklands sport, at a meeting on Monday.

MLA for Sport Mike Summers (pictured) Director of Central Services Matt Bassford along with Arch Henderson’s Project Engineer Darren Plato, outlined three all-weather sports facility proposals which have been examined by a Development Group. The group has also explored potential sites around Stanley.

The two other options comprised an all weather football pitch with a multi-sports surface, possibly with a 400m running track around the outside, and the  second proposal is an indoor Astroturf playing surface, configured for at least three sports. 

Whereas the latter would be a 70x90 metre building the multi-purpose sports arena would be extended an extra 30m.

If the sports facility is to be undercover then a building manufactured by Rubb Building Systems would be used. This would involve a high strength PVDF coated polyester membrane cladding tensioned over an engineered steel frame system similar to the helicopter hangar at FIGAS. There have also been Rubb buildings at Mount Pleasant for around 25 years.
The favoured site for whichever proposal (potentially in different combinations) is the old Rugby Pitch.

Speaking to Penguin News this week MLA Summers explained that the Development Group had examined all the available sites, “from the very far end of Stanley right down as far as Surf Bay to see which sites might be suitable for development for sports facilities, and not surprisingly we came up with the Rugby Pitch; but I think it was important that bit of work was done to make sure we were looking at the right site.”

On from that there were three sets of issues said MLA Summers, and one of those was the inadequate pitch which, “prevents the Football Club from operating properly,” and, “which would, take both a lot of work and a lot of time to get it back into a decent condition as a football pitch.”

He said the second issue was that all outdoor sports were heavily restricted by weather and as a result sport development was,  “held back by the climatic conditions, and the Leisure Centre does a fine job with what it is able to do, but it is only that size, and so something bigger would provide a lot more opportunity.”

Thirdly: “We don’t have a running track in  the Falklands, and the core of all athletic activity is the work that surrounds athletics and athletics training.”
As such the task in front of them is, “to pull those three sets of issues together to distil some options for the government to consider.” 

Government has agreed already that it will allocate half a million to the development of a football pitch, “but with a number of reservations about that. Not all members are keen to invest large amounts of money on a single sport. There is much more willingness to invest money if many sports or a substantial number of sports in the Falklands can benefit from it,” said MLA Summers.
As a result they have examined various options. This has involved individually costing an artificial football pitch, a running track, and the aforementioned buildings.

He said: “What we are trying to do is to bring together what we think are do-able options for the Government to consider. The purpose of the meeting was to get for the first time in a public forum, views back from those who are interested in sport and sport development.”

He has discussed it already with FIOGA and had guidance but not in an open fourm.” 

MLA Summers said the plan will be for the group to, “try and distil down the discussion we had [at the meeting] into an options paper for the government… and try and weigh the costs against the level of participation that we are going to get to.”

Full story in this week's online edition Penguin News