In 2019, Terrace Northmen Rugby Club received a $30,000 grant from Northern Development towards this $100,000 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development
June 2019 – The Terrace Northmen Rugby Club have been scrumming in their namesake for the past 45 years and on June 15, the club was thrilled to officially open the first dedicated rugby field in Northern BC.
Evan van Dyk, president of the Terrace Northmen Rugby Club, was on hand for the opening, along with Carol Leclerc, mayor of Terrace and a director on the Northern Development board.
“This project was five years in the making,” said van Dyk. “And to finally see the field player-ready is very satisfying.”
The total cost to upgrade the field was approximately $100,000. Through fund-raisers, sponsors, donations and a $30,000 grant from Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, the rugby pitch received a much-needed overhaul.
The field is situated at the Northwest Community College and has been used as a rugby facility by the Northmen for the past 20 years. The field was not adequately maintained over the years and had begun to pose a safety concern for players.
“Despite the existence of multiple local teams, there were no fields designated for rugby,” said van Dyk. “We had no other option but to use unmaintained fields, which resulted in injuries to players as well as an inability to host tournaments or travelling clubs.”
With the addition of this new field, Terrace now has the capability to host tournaments with clubs from across the province, which has the potential to bring in significant sport tourism revenue to the community. This will also provide an opportunity to grow the sport.
“Rugby is an incredibly popular sport, not only in Terrace, but in many surrounding communities,” said Carol Leclerc, mayor of Terrace. “I am so pleased that Northern Development played a role in bringing this important project to fruition.”
In order to achieve a functional rugby pitch of the calibre the Northmen wanted, several upgrades were completed including fencing, levelling and sodding of the field, and the installation of an automatic underground sprinkler system.
van Dyk added that in order to reduce costs, he and his fellow Northmen physically took on some of the work themselves by digging ditches, laying pipes and installing sprinklers.
Their hard work was on display on June 15 at the official ribbon cutting ceremony with events that included rugby matches between the Prince Rupert Seamen, Prince George Gnats and the Williams Lake Rustlers.
The Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program provides funding to improve, expand, or develop facilities in order to increase the number of events held annually in the community, contributing to hospitality, tourism and service sector revenues in the local economy.