The Thunder Bay men's and women's soccer leagues have cancelled their 2017 indoor soccer seasons.
The two groups, along with the Thunder Bay Chill, were planning on running the the season at a former warehouse on Maureen Street in Thunder Bay. It was a temporary solution, as indoor soccer space has been scarce since the city's Sports Dome collapsed in a winter storm last November.
However, a numbered company challenged Thunder Bay City Council's temporary rezoning of the facility, filing an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board.
Registrations to be refunded
"I regret to inform you that the Maureen Street option is no longer possible," said Michael Veneziale, president of the Thunder Bay Men's Soccer League and director of senior soccer with Soccer Northwest, said in a post on the league's Facebook page on the weekend.
"We will not have the time or money to fight the appeal," he wrote, adding the group also "attempted many other options with nothing being plausible now due to time restraints and availability."
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As a result, the men's and women's indoor seasons are cancelled — registration fees will be refunded — and the Chill will "attempt to find times at high school gyms" and Lakehead University's Hangar.
Any other temporary facility would likely require a zoning change, as well, which would "give the company another opportunity to to file an appeal and put us in the same position," Veneziale wrote.
Veneziale's post identifies the people behind the appeal as Dave Robertson and Rob Zanette.
The owners of the Sports Dome are listed as Dave and Lori Robertson. The dome has not been repaired or cleaned up since it collapsed a year ago.
Zanette's RZ Realty Services company recently signed a three-year lease for the Confederation College's former fitness centre, known as the Bubble. Among the plans are to install an artificial turf so indoor soccer can be played there; the website lists the Lakehead Express as among the users.
Veneziale declined to comment on the matter further on Sunday, but a post on Soccer Northwest's Facebook page indicated that a formal statement "incorporating new information, professional and legal opinion" would be coming from the organization soon.