FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has agreed to meet with the FSJ Soccer Club on the state of pitches in the city.

Council motioned to have staff meet with the club after presented with a letter from club president Darren Snider on Monday. In the letter, Snider expressed 13 years of pent up frustration towards the conditions of the “poorly constructed” fields at Sureus Park and a lack of action from the city.

“I know I’ve received a lot of texts and emails over the last while. Darren’s letter was very spot on, honestly. We’ve made decisions around those soccer fields, they haven’t been redeveloped, and they were put together in poor shape to start with.  I think it’s something we need to discuss and consider as we move forward,” says Councillor Byron Stewart during the March 22nd meeting.

Snider’s letter featured specific issues with the two fields, such as the gravel amount in the soil, contouring leading to large pools of rainwater, and trenches left in the field due to not being backfilled properly.

“I ask you, city council as an example, would you ever allow the ice in the Pomeroy Sports Center to fall into disrepair to the point where Fort St. John Minor Hockey says they can no longer use it?” says the letter penned on March 14th.

“I will answer it for you. NO! This would never happen.”

Snider mentioned the club is open to conversations with the city around planning to repair the soccer fields.

Stewart adds the city could take advantage of activities not taking place on the fields currently due to COVID-19 so that the fields are ready when team sports resume.

With the reconstruction not being a part of the budget, Mayor Lori Ackerman believes it won’t happen this year unless changes could be made.

Councillor Gord Klassen asked to make a motion to have a meeting happen between the two parties as soon as possible to come to a mutual compromise.

“In the letter, [Snider] lists the deficiencies but hasn’t specifically said what specific solutions would be,” says Klassen.

“I know they don’t want short term solutions, but maybe that’s what we have to go with right now to make it workable.”

The most recent Surerus Park concept plan presented to council in late 2020 features updates to both soccer fields and the installation of an updated tennis court, new washrooms at the south end, and a new playground. The concept is included in the Five-Year Capital Plan to begin in 2023, with a total of $20 million being budgeted to redevelop Kin Park and Surerus Park.