Calgary has a rich tradition of sporting excellence. The 1988 Olympics Winter Games, the Calgary Stampede, the Calvary Football Club, Flames and Stampeders championship teams, and so many more special moments have shaped the city and its residents. Special memories are made every day, every season, by thousands of athletes and their families in all corners of Calgary.
Work ethic, teamwork, social skills, cooperation, and heath are fundamental to athletics. Every child deserves the opportunity to reap the immense benefits that come with access to sports. Unfortunately, there have been many barriers to participation. Many of these barriers reflect a history of neglect in planning, and inequitable investment in infrastructure. In a time where a global pandemic has taken thousands of Canadian lives, and gathering restrictions have taken an immense toll on our collective mental health and wellbeing, we must never forget that although we are all experiencing the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. For one family, a cancelled soccer practice is nothing more than an inconvenience. For another, it might result in unsupervised children. For a multivehicle family with time and money, a 20 minute trip to the field is just another day. For some, it means they don't have a chance to play.
Today, I am pleased to announce that ground has been broken on the first artificial turf field in Ward 5. Out 78 Class A fields in Calgary, none are located east of Deerfoot Trail and North of Peigan Trail SE. Nearly a quarter of Calgarians, are expected to travel extensively to access quality facilities. Many families are simply unable to do this. This is unfair, and an example of how we have failed to serve all Calgarians fairly. Since my election in 2017, I have committed to addressing the lack of investment our Northeast neighborhoods. All Calgarians must be given the same opportunities to live, work and play. This should have nothing to do with one's postal code. A single turf field will not address all of the inequities in access to sport, but it is an important first step, and I look forward to being part of the long fight for a fairer Calgary.
I am grateful for the support of Calgary City Council, the Government of Alberta and the Genesis Centre, each of whom contributed $2 million. In particular, I want to thank MLA Irfan Sabir for his strong support in getting funding for this project in 2019.