Balls could be flying on Squamish’s highly anticipated turf field as early as this fall.
On Tuesday (June 19), the Squamish council awarded the construction of the field to two companies — Sea to Sky-based Coastal Mountain Excavations Ltd. and WorldWide Turf Inc. For approximately $547,000, Coastal Mountain will complete the grading and drainage for the project, with WorldWide Turf installing the artificial turf at a cost of $440,000.
The opening date depends on the amount of time it takes for the earth to settle, said Greig Garland, the district’s capital works engineer.
“We still remain very tight in terms of getting it done this year,” he noted.
The engineering report to council stated construction could begin this month. District staff anticipate the turf and shock pad would be installed in September and October. If the work hits delays, the project would likely be completed next spring.
“Hopefully it will be done before the rains,” Garland said.
Garland noted municipal staff anticipate the field will come in under its current $1.7 million budget. The estimated tab sits at approximately $1.3 million.
Last year, council earmarked $500,000 from the Sports Legacy Fund for the project, with an additional $500,000 coming from the provincial community recreation program and $100,000 from the Squamish Soccer Association.
It’s a lot of money for taxpayers to pour into a project, Coun. Susan Chapelle said. Earlier this year, she criticized the field’s bill, noting the municipality has failing infrastructure and other recreation facilities that have been highlighted as higher priorities in municipal reports.
“It is costing the community quite a lot of money for a single user group,” she said.
District officials anticipate the field will cost the municipality $70,000 a year for operating and replacement costs. That includes $50,000 per year to the 10-year life expectancy of the synthetic turf, $10,000 per year for the 20-year life expectancy of the underlying shock pad and $10,000 annually for maintenance.
If the district is going to spend the money on the field, Chapelle said municipality must ensure it is done right the first time. She requested municipal staff examine whether it would be cost effective to place lighting conduits in the initial building phase.
Lighting, which is currently not slated in the plan, would extend the field’s hours of use and allow for nighttime competitions, she said. Councillors Doug Race and Ron Sander agreed, and asked that parking be added to the list of potential components to be examined as possible additions to the project.