Bradford Sports Dome officially opens

Miriam King

Nineteen months ago, the Bradford Soccer Club came to Bradford West Gwillimbury Council with a proposal for an indoor soccer facility.

Once Council gave the green light, there were months of negotiations, three-party agreements, applications for ministerial approvals, con-struction - but on December 11, representatives of the Town, Aurora Sports Dome and Bradford Soccer Club celebrated the official opening of the Bradford Sports Dome.

Nick Warman, Manager of Recreation for the Town, called the dome "a wonderful facility," and "a jewel in Bradford's crown."

"Without question, this is a great day for the Town, this is a great day for soccer... it's a great day for the over 1,200 kids who play soccer," said BWG Mayor Doug White. "This is the start of our expansion in soccer" - an expansion that will include the development of the 97-acre Henderson Park.

"We are going to become a regional soccer hub," White said, praising the Soccer Club and its president Leon Gibson for their vision.

For Gibson, the process began with talks with then-Councillors Jeanny Salmon, Mark Contois and James Leduc - and Mayor White. Gibson remembered telling the Mayor, "Let today mark the beginning of a conversation about soccer," and a new focus on the popular sport. "Ever since then the wheels have been moving. You can see growth."

"It's been a great experience," said Trevor Redvers, who manages the dome with his father Terry, the owner of Aurora Sports Dome. He thanked Town staff, Council and the Bradford Soccer Club, as well as the contractors who completed the project in only 4 months.

He also explained some of the unique features of construction. The "bubble" itself rests on a 6' deep concrete grade beam "that holds this building down," Redvers said, and is kept inflated by positive air pressure. In fact, all of that air pressure is generated by a 15 hp. motor: "That's all it takes to hold up approximately 65,000 lbs. of material above us."

A ribbon cutting was held at centre field,on a giant "Bradford Eagles," logo embedded in the artificial turf - followed by a demonstration of Madskills Soccer by coach Willie Giummarra and Ben Rocco, in front of an appreciative audience of soccer fans. The demo was followed by refreshments, and free games.

While the Bradford Sports Dome's prime tenant is the soccer club, the facility is available to any field sports league, from volleyball to extreme frisbee. For more information, contact the Dome, at 905-778-9154.