News Views: Field time

News Views: Field time

Maple Ridge council now wants to take a $500,000 grant for a turf field at Albion Sports Complex and apply it to one at Merkley Park.

But there were already plans for a $2 million turf field at Merkley Park. It is to be named after Olympian and Maple Ridge secondary graduate Karina LeBlanc.

But there’s a risk in not proceeding with the $3.5 million field in Albion, that the city could lose the grant money.

More so, what’s lost here are plans for a second new turf field for minor sports groups, sooner rather than later.

The one in Albion was dumped because no plan could be arrived at to replace parking for special events where the turf was proposed to go, on a gravel playing surface.

Council will look for an alternative location, including discussions with the school district.

Samuel Robertson Technical, Pitt Meadows and Westview secondary schools already have turf fields. One is already going beside MRSS. Thomas Haney is surrounded by multi-purpose grass fields. They cater to soccer, rugby and slo-pitch. That leaves Garibaldi secondary.

Maybe there are other places. We’ll see.

Regardless, user groups such as soccer – decimated this past winter because of snow and cold and wet weather – have to wait for a second new turf field, which have much better usage than grass ones.

No other location makes as much sense as Albion, which has to the potential to be a tournament centre.

The city embarked on an recreation infrastructure upgrading plan – including turf fields – two years ago, and already the overall costs have climbed from $110 to $200 million.

No decisions have been made regarding how to pay for them, or which ones will be built and in what order. We’re still waiting for feedback from surveys and such.

No doubt any recreation plans concerning the Albion area – such as renovating the hockey arena, building a new pool and curling rink, adding fields – will have to accommodate parking.

But where, if no space can be found now?

We’re told to wait for the area plan, which is years in the making and to be made public soon.

Meanwhile, the residents of Maple Ridge – the families that populate the recreation facilities each passing year, and pay for them – don’t have enough places to play. That’s why the city wanted to build two fields, not one.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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