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Ballenas Whalers Football Society to build new clubhouse

Group faces a challenging year
The Ballenas Whalers Football Society's storage equipment trailer in the background will be replaced by a permanent clubhouse that will be built behind Winchelsea School.

The Ballenas Whalers Football Society faces a challenging year ahead.

With the construction of an all-season track and football field now underway at Ballenas Secondary, the Whalers will be without a playing field and also no place to put their storage equipment trailers, which had been located behind Winchelsea School.

President Dan Smith said in September, the Whalers will play most of their BC Secondary School Football Association home games in Nanaimo as the construction of their new playing field at Ballenas is expected to be completed some time in November.

The biggest challenge for the society is their equipment storage facility, which they must remove from the Winchelsea location as the new track does not allow trailers on the property.

The society has come up with a plan to build a new football field house behind Winchelsea School. They aim to take on this project with the help of the Qualicum School District and in partnership with Oceanside Lions Community Club.

Smith pitched the football field house project at a recent information meeting attended by members of the society, the Whalers coaching staff, parents, business owners and representatives of the Oceanside Lions Community Football.

A slide show of the preliminary drawings of the field house was also presented. It featured a two-storey steel building concept with a patio that will face the track at Ballenas where the Whalers’ games would be held. The first floor will be used to store equipment, provide trainer space, washroom and a utility room. The second floor would be serve as team meeting room and also a place to watch films.

The cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $225,000, with $100,000 earmarked for materials, $100,000 for labour and $25,000 for finishing.

Smith said the project would now be added to the society's scheduled fundraising initiatives they hold every year to pay for their operational expenditures. This will continue but will be a separate from the fundraising plans they have for the clubhouse.

The society will embarked on a community team plan using a 3T Strategy — Treasure, Talent and Tangibles, that Smith said he has used effectively in past fundraisers for projects at University of British Columbia and other initiatives in the community. Treasure relates to fundraising events, donations and applications for grants. Talent is all about donation of time from different individuals who have building experience such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and many other skills to help construct the field house. Tangibles is about donation of materials such as lumber, nails, walls, roofs and many others.

The goal also includes applying for capital project grants that could include BC Gaming Capital Project Grant, Co-op Community Spaces Grant and Canada Post Community Foundation Grant. The society indicated if they're successful in their application, they could acquire as much as $85,000.

Smith said a permanent clubhouse will ensure the future of football in the community. He added they will make more presentations in the future to potential sponsors and supporters in the community.

Oceanside Lions president Michael Pedersen welcomes the project as he believes this would not only benefit the Whalers but also their organization.

"A clubhouse, a facility that will even provide the lions a little bit of access should be good .. maybe a change room and washroom," said Pedersen. "It just makes sense." 

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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