The ongoing battle for playing time in Coquitlam looks to be headed towards a truce.
As part of the first step in that process, council approved a feasibility study Monday to examine the viability of a covered, outdoor multi-sport facility in the city.
According to Coun. Craig Hodge, chair of the city's sport council, the building would ideally include two playing surfaces intended for lacrosse, roller hockey and soccer, primarily.
"We really need to look at ways of getting kids away from their computer games and getting them active in the community," he said in an interview Tuesday.
The feasibility study will look at both long and short term options - including the creation of a separate, larger facility like the Langley Events Centre - while examining best practices from across North America.
Hodge hopes the covered facility will be done within three years, while work on the larger facility could begin within a five-year window. However, costs, timelines, locations and potential uses for both facilities first need to be clarified through the feasibility study.
For Garrett Ungaro, Monday's move represents a sense of relief that's close to a decade in the making. As vice-president of the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association and the Coquitlam junior Adanacs, Ungaro has watched his association's membership steadily increase while floor time remained at a premium. In fact, with about 800 members playing minor lacrosse in Coquitlam, his association is the largest in Canada outside of Ontario.
"This is absolutely terrific news and terribly long overdue," he said Tuesday.
Coquitlam's available floor space has remained unchanged since the mid 1970s, when the second rink was added to what is now known as the Poirier Sport and Leisure complex. Since that time, the city's population has more than doubled.
The problem is compounded by the fact that minor lacrosse registration numbers have gone up by 15 per cent over the last five years, and the rapid growth in popularity in local ball hockey leagues. According to Hodge, around 100 players were denied access into the roller hockey league last year due to lack of space, while the local lacrosse association had to incur additional costs to rent floor space in Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Langley.
"We've gone to great lengths to make sure every child could find a team, now I think we have to make sure that every team has a place to play," Mayor Richard Stewart said.
The city has allotted up to $100,000 for the feasibility study.