The president of the Greater Saint John Field House said the $27-million facility will not operate with help from municipalities.
“It has to stand on its own two feet,” said Bill MacMackin. “It has to operate without any municipal subsidy from the city or any of the other regional communities.”
There has been controversy over funding for major facilities like Harbour Station which receives financial help from Saint John and surrounding communities.
MacMackin said the business plan for the field house, set to open over the coming weeks, is built around being independent.
“We built it in a way that we feel we can tap into some really strong opportunities for rentals. We’ve looked at the events that can come here with the idea that they’ll contribute to this legacy.”
62 per cent of the initial funding came from all three levels of government. The rest came from the community and Saint John Exhibition Association which put forth $4 million as well as land.
The massive building is set to open over the coming weeks. The YMCA of Greater Saint John will operate the field house including the many programs it offers.
The child care facility will open its doors September 3rd, the fitness centre opens in mid-September and the field house by mid-October.
The new space will allow the “Y” to expand its reach to young people.
“We’re anticipating at least…two thousand to ten thousand additional opportunities for our youth,” said President and CEO Shilo Boucher.
Several hundred new “Y” memberships are expected as well.
Fall bookings are as high as 90 per cent. ‘Soccer organizations…Saint John Soccer and Fundy Soccer are both very interested in the facility but we also have ultimate frisbee. …football, rugby,” said Boucher.
As the field house nears its opening days, MacMackin said his expectations have been surpassed.
“It’s a national caliber facility. It allows us to host events much more multi-functional that any of the original plans. It allows us to bring events in that we wouldn’t have thought of,” MacMackin said.