Lake Country is mourning the loss of one of its long-time community supporters.
Angus Gunn MacInnes, 78, passed away on Feb. 11 and his passing has left a huge hole in the soccer community of Lake Country and the Okanagan Valley. His love of community and his passion for soccer came from his Scottish roots. Born in Scotland, he immigrated to Canada in 1977 and his family settled in Oyama.
MacInnes was the founding president of the Lake Country Soccer Society in 1996. At that time a small group of dedicated volunteers had the vision to develop first class soccer fields and a club house on 14 acres of donated land from the District of Lake Country. Beasley Park, as it is known today, was constructed in 1998 with the official opening soccer tournament in the spring of 1999.
The dream became a reality through the thousands of hours of volunteer labour, and generous donations of equipment and materials. The goal of the society was to provide the best soccer pitches in the Okanagan Valley. To accomplish this goal of maximum field usage, experts were consulted ensuring the highest standards.
Many families spent weekends removing rocks, raking soil, laying pipes and hauling gravel. However, MacInnes was a permanent fixture at Beasley and rarely took a weekend off. When the fields were completed the final cost was $87,000. This figure was one-third of the cost for a single field in Kelowna. The soccer society and the District of Lake Country continued their partnership for another 10 years.
The society purchased two mowers and took on the responsibility for the maintenance of sprinklers, cutting, top dressing, fertilizing and lining fields, along with purchasing goal posts, and scheduling games.
Once the fields were completed the society didn’t stop. MacInnes, being a carpenter by trade, oversaw the construction of the clubhouse beginning in 2002, which was also completed using volunteer labour, donations, equipment, and both new and re-purposed materials in order to keep the costs down. This is where MacInnes’ Scottish roots came in handy. Finally, the lights were erected and the soccer season was extended by 30 per cent more than any fields in the valley with natural grass.
What began as a vision for a small group of soccer enthusiasts has evolved into a multi-purpose park where thousands of people gather each year. MacInnes leaves behind a legacy of commitment to community and to the spirit of volunteerism.
The next time one visits Beasley Park take a moment to reflect on the selflessness of one volunteer from our community. Family and friends will be organizing a celebration of life in late April at Beasley, which will include a barbecue along with a soccer game.
Included in this celebration the District of Lake Country will be officially designating one of the rooms at the Beasely Community Center as the “Angus MacInnes Room” in honour of one remarkable volunteer.