First Artificial turf soccer field for Cowichan Valley
A decision by the municipality of North Cowichan's council to allocate funding for an artificial turf field at Sherman Road Park was greeted enthusiastically by the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association's president.
"North Cowichan council has always been foresighted regarding sports facilities," Bill Keserich said, citing it's support of the Sportsplex. "The good news is that there's no tax levy. The municipality was very conscious of people being wary about tax increases, we weren't in favour of that, nor was the council."
At a meeting this summer, North Cowichan's council voted to allocate $416,000 each for fiscal year 2014 and 2015, through the gas tax fund to construct an artificial turf field for the David Williams Field at the Sherman Road Soccer Park, and to have staff amend its 2014-2018 financial plan accordingly.
It also directed staff to proceed with the phased construction of an artificial turf field, at the David Williams Field, as soon as reasonably possible.
CVSA is contributing $300,000 and the remaining funding, $268,000, is coming from the sale of North Cowichan's land reserve.
Keserich said over 1,000 children and youth regularly use the facility, as well as the 150 adults who are members of the CVSA.
The funding will mean that soccer can be played year round, with no down time because of saturated fields, a common reason for closing them now.
Keserich said the only weather that would stop people from playing on the field is snow or heavy frost.
"We're probably the last full-sized jurisdiction not to have artificial turf," Keserich said, adding that Nanaimo has two to three fields; Ladysmith one and Victoria a number of them.
The decision could allow the league to extend the soccer season, allowing it to host more clinics and tournaments than it could before.
The new turf field, which will also be lit, will be the second lit field in the region, the other one he said was at Rotary Park.
Keserich said the decision benefits more than the soccer community.
"Every time teams come here to play, they bring to lots of dollars with them," the CVSA president said. "There's no doubt that this will help tourism."
The North American Indigenous Games and the B.C. Seniors Games have been played on that field.