The pitch is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to bring recreational spaces to its dense urban centre.
June 24, 2017
As Mississauga’s urbanization intensifies, the city and a local builder have entered into a partnership to construct a downtown boxed soccer pitch.
The pitch, part of a nine-year agreement with The Daniels Corporation for the use of their land, will be built at Prince of Wales Dr. and Living Arts Dr.
While boxed pitches are common in Europe, the ‘Daniels Community Field’ is unique to Canada.
The 30 metre by 15 metre pitch will include boxed-in netting, a welded aluminum design, artificial turf, boards and two goals.
Last September, the city tested a boxed soccer pitch in its Community Common.
“It was something that we knew had great success with the pilot project. As a giveback to the community, why not do something a little bit more interactive, a little bit more fun, something that would get people in the community engaged?” said Jacob Cohen, Daniels’ vice president of implementation.
Councillor John Kovac, a second-generation Canadian, says the pitch is necessary in a city where 53 per cent of the population was born outside the country, particularly in a downtown core where the youth population living in condominiums and apartments is larger than anticipated.
He says one of the biggest concerns parents express is what are you doing for our kids to keep them active and healthy and out of the house?
“We’ve heard a lot from the public about the ability to do pickup play or having more recreational opportunities in these intensification areas,” echoed Mississauga’s park planning manager Eric Lucic, adding that a full-sized field is too expensive in a downtown setting.
“We’re quite excited about this. It keeps youth engaged, which keeps them from potentially doing activities that we don’t want them doing as well.”
The ability to kick the ball off the boards or into a mesh net, something larger goals on full fields don’t provide, will allow kids to practice on their own, bolstering development and keeping balls off of city streets, according to Kovac.
The city will be responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of the pitch, while Daniels will cover the initial costs of construction, land preparation, lighting, seating, and landscaping.
The pitch will initially cost the city $180,000, which will be refunded by $20,000 a year over the duration of the deal in exchange for Daniels’ naming rights, advertisements on the boards, and an in-turf logo.
Rather than programming the pitch for profit, Kovac pushed to open it up as a public space for informal drop-in soccer games for kids of all ages.
“I think (using it for programming) would take a little bit away from this idea of building something for the people and keeping it open and accessible for as long as we can,” he said.
While the deal begins July 1, the parties don’t expect the pitch to be completed until the end of the summer.
Kovac hopes other cities in Canada will build their own urban boxed pitches.
“I just know that it’s going to be a big hit,” he said.