An ambitious plan to raise several million dollars to completely overhaul and update West Vancouver Secondary’s running track and soccer field is persisting due to the passionate work of the project’s fundraising committee, though the process has slowed.
The West Vancouver Place for Sport fundraising committee set out to raise $5.7 million by February of this year in order to construct a new state-of-the-art six-lane track and artificial turf soccer field, effectively replacing the secondary school’s aging track and grass field.
But so far a little under $900,000 has been raised, according to committee chairman Clint Undseth.
“It’s taken longer than what I envisioned,” Undseth said.
The project’s fundraising committee – a group comprising community members, including sports coaches and parents – were striving, assuming the funds were raised in time, to break ground on the project this spring.
“I guess at the time, when I stated that, we were quite aggressive in the goal. But I thought we would raise the money to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday,” Undseth said.
So far, some commitments from community stakeholders, contingent on the committee being able to raise the funds in total, have included $250,000 from the West Vancouver Community Foundation; $250,000 from the West Vancouver school district; $100,000 from the West Vancouver Soccer Club; and a $250,000 commitment from the District of West Vancouver.
Undseth said the committee is confident that private donations, big and small, from passionate people in the community would help prop up the campaign going forward.
“It’s moving in the right direction,” he said. “Right now we are in some discussions with people and we know it takes time. … We’re focusing on people that really value bringing our whole community together, people that value helping develop tomorrow’s leaders, and people that value community service.”
Undseth also wanted to get the word out about building a “network of ambassadors.”
These ambassadors, he said, could be people in the community who believe in the vision for an updated track and field facility and could help promote or raise funds for the project in their own way without being on the committee.
According to the West Vancouver Place for Sport website, a new sports facility in the municipality is needed because there’s a “demand for a safe all-weather multi-sport and leisure facility.”
The website also states that replacing the current, aging grass field with an artificial turf one would help ensure activities aren’t hampered by poor weather, essentially turning it into a year-round recreation centre without walls.
West Vancouver District spokesman Jeff McDonald reaffirmed the municipality’s commitment to the project, assuming the committee could fully raise the required funds.
“It’s not a small project,” McDonald said. “Sometimes these things take time to come together in the right way, but the district remains committed.”
Undseth did not provide a new timeframe for when he thinks the fundraising campaign might be completed, but he remains optimistic about it.
“We have a work plan ready to go, as soon as we get the funds we can kick it off. It’s a matter of getting the campaign completed,” he said.
Those interested in learning more about the campaign or contributing can visit wvpfs.org.
– with files from Andy Prest