Kids Club founders pitch soccer pitch for Blyth
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
North Huron Council received a delegation from Joe Gahan and Megan Lee-Gahan of the Blyth Kids Club at a regular meeting on Sept. 5. Gahan and Lee-Gahan requested council install community soccer fields at the Blyth Campground.
Reeve Paul Heffer started things off by thanking Gahan and Lee-Gahan for all they’ve done for the children of Blyth. The married couple started the Blyth Kids Club in 2022 in response to an obvious need in the community, offering different activities four days a week, including soccer, ball hockey, arts and crafts, roller skating, outdoor movie nights, and monthly disco parties. The club’s end-of-summer party in the park was attended by between 300 and 400 people, about half of whom were children.
The response from local families has been tremendous, and the two volunteers are hoping to expand their soccer programming by installing a permanent field for children to play on. “A permanent location for a field would be great for the community, not just for Blyth, but for every kid that wants to come around,” explained Gahan. “Since COVID happened, a lot of the kids are shy, and now through the soccer program and the good volunteers in Blyth, the kids are flourishing. We have 60 to 70 kids, but we just have no permanent soccer field…. It’d be really nice if we could find a proper location in Blyth.” The Kids Club already has all the necessary equipment to furnish the field, including goals and line markers, and need only the space and grass seed from council to get the ball rolling.
Lee-Gahan presented council with a map of the Blyth Campground, marked with possible field locations that would not disrupt any ongoing arena, Threshers Reunion, or campground activities. “We are currently using the area by the kids skate park, and the area to the left of the baseball field, but unfortunately it is not level enough and not large enough for us to continue on… so that is the ask.”
Deputy-Reeve Kevin Falconer complimented the pair on the level of engagement they have already achieved, saying “I can honestly say I didn’t know we had that many kids!” Councillors Chris Palmer and Anita van Hittersum also congratulated the delegation on their achievement. Council debated the logistics of installing the field, examining things like parking and what camping utilities may need to be moved to make it happen.
Falconer reminded the rest of council that, in the past 10 years, Blyth has seen three different soccer fields taken out of use. “The other ones failed because of support… if we are going to put a pitch on municipal property, we better put some money behind it… If we’re going to do this, let’s do it as North Huron and do it right.”
Councillor Mitch Wright put forth the possibility of utilizing community fundraising to pay for at least part of the project, saying “if the community is willing to get behind it and help some of the upfront infrastructure costs, it really shows the community is behind it.”
Palmer put forth a motion that staff create a report that details the possible costs and consequences of the project, which passed unanimously.