Friday night lights returning to Pitt Meadows

Friday night lights returning to Pitt Meadows

The Pitt Meadows Marauders football team will get to play under the lights for its Friday night games this season thanks to a compromise worked out between the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District and the City of Pitt Meadows.

The new $2.2 million all-weather field features high-powered lights for night-time use and a synthetic playing surface, and was funded jointly through the City of Pitt Meadows, School District No. 42, and the Pitt Meadows Soccer Club. As a result, a number of different sports groups are vying for time on the field, and some are not happy with how the time has been divvied up.

Currently, Pitt Meadows secondary gets exclusive use of the field from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, as well as four weekends a year for games and tournaments. The remaining time is split among community sports groups, such as the Pitt Meadows Soccer Club, Ridge Meadows Rugby Club, and the Ridge Meadows Burrards Minor Lacrosse Association’s field lacrosse program.

Under the new agreement, the school would give up its rights to field on weekends in exchange for six Friday night games. The school would also gain use of the field for a two-week training camp prior to the start of school in September, while the school’s Grade 8 and junior teams will be able to use the field until 6 p.m. twice a week.

“This will allow us to showcase our senior team at a time when people can actually come to the game,” said Pitt Meadows secondary athletics director Rich Goulet.

“Having that extra time after school will makes things more comfortable.”

Last season, the football team was given just a single Friday night game, which attracted close to 300 spectators. Marauders parents were vocal with their displeasure about the situation, inundating parks staff with emails.

“I think it was an oversight that we didn’t get the Friday games last season,” said Goulet. “Friday night games are what high school football is all about, so it’s good to see this.”

School board trustees voted unanimously in favour of the deal at their regular board meeting Wednesday night.