The apparent sudden sale of Players Paradise Sports Complex in Hamilton has sent soccer players and tenants – including the Tiger-Cats – looking for a new indoor facility.
The Ticats have used Players Paradise for indoor practices for the last several seasons, particularly in the late fall when the weather is typically cooler and rain, wind and snow can be a factor.
But the new owner, a medical cannabis producer, says it is helping the nonprofit groups find another venue for their sport – and that it is creating 100 good jobs at the site.
Green Relief Inc. in Flamborough has purchased the 100,000-square-foot facility at 565 Seaman St. in Stoney Creek for an undisclosed amount.
The sports complex closes its doors on Oct. 31.
Once converted, the new jobs created will provide a livable wage, said Green Relief CEO Warren Bravo.
Bravo said his company had not been looking for another location. However, “an opportunity presented itself” when a third party contacted him about Players Paradise being for sale.
“This was an additional growing place that wasn’t planned. … We decided to have a look at it and saw the value of being there, ” he said.
He got verification from the city that the zoning allows for a medical marijuana grow facility, he added.
Green Relief expects to start on $9 million in renovations, including putting in a second storey into the 16-metre high building when it takes over at the end of October.
Green Relief is currently expanding its Flamborough facility on the 8th Concession near Strabane – west of Highway 6 and north of Carlisle Road . The company’s goal is to eventually have a plant in every province. It is currently in final discussions to open a plant in Halifax, Bravo said.
Green Relief was granted a federal licence in 2013 to grow medical marijuana, and began growing cannabis in late 2015.
Bravo said he is aware from social media of some anger and dissatisfaction regarding the sale, and that his company realizes the purchase is inconvenient to soccer groups – and to that end is donating $10,000 to the Saltfleet Stoney Creek Soccer Club to help it relocate – and will help other nonprofit groups find another venue.
“We’re here to help, not to displace kids from soccer, ” Bravo said.
The Saltfleet club could not be reached for comment.
While private soccer facility owners say there is ample capacity in Hamilton to absorb the displaced players, the newly formed Hamilton Sports Coalition says many will be left out in the cold this winter.
“It has to be close to 10,000 soccer players (both youth and adult) potentially who will be affected, ” says coalition founder Leo Cavalluzzo.
He is adamant there is not enough capacity to absorb all the players. The coalition wants the city to help soccer club with facilities the way it help hockey groups with providing arenas.
Duncan Macintosh, who owns Soccer World on Frid Street in Hamilton, says despite Players Paradise’s “significant group of customers, ” he believes they will find space at his and other indoor facilities.
“It’ll be tight … (but) at the end of the day, they’ll all find a home. We are really well serviced in Hamilton with indoor turf fields.”
Bravo said his company wants to be part of the solution for a better Hamilton.
For starters, it hires local contractors and engineers. It employs 50 people now and will hire at least 100 for Stoney Creek and another 150 at its second building under construction at its Flamborough property, Bravo said.