A rainbow graces the sky above Blackburn Park during a soccer game in 2019. Shuswap Youth Soccer Association has proposed synthetic turf surfaces for the southwest corner of Blackburn Park. (File photo)

A rainbow graces the sky above Blackburn Park during a soccer game in 2019. Shuswap Youth Soccer Association has proposed synthetic turf surfaces for the southwest corner of Blackburn Park. (File photo)

Soccer association proposes synthetic turf surfaces at Blackburn Park

City council takes time to clarify details of proposals

The Shuswap Youth Soccer Association would like to see synthetic-turf playing surfaces in Blackburn Park.

City council is not against the plan, but would like clarification on a couple of points.

SYSA submitted a letter to council’s Nov. 22 meeting, which said the association intends to submit applications for funding related to the construction of new synthetic turf on the southwest portion of the park.

It made two requests of city council: the first, to support the efforts of the association to work on “new synthetic turf playing facilities” and, secondly, to provide a letter of support for the association’s grant applications for them.

Just four members of council were present: Mayor Alan Harrison and Couns. Tim Lavery, Louise Wallace Richmond and Sylvia Lindgren.

City staff said they have met with the organization several times regarding plans and requests.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said the synthetic field being proposed for Blackburn would be a nice asset for the park.

“But there’s a lot of moving parts to this and a lot of things we would need to work out with the association,” he said, noting that the city would not want to lease the land so would be responsible for operations and maintenance costs.

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Coun. Tim Lavery asked what was meant by the word “facilities” in the request.

“So some further clarification on that because the previous asks were about free-standing structures and facilities,” he said. “That would help me a lot.”

Coun. Wallace Richmond said she would appreciate knowing what deadlines the association is facing. She said she wouldn’t want the process to stop if it has been agreed the turf would be a benefit to the city, to the soccer association and the community in general, but she would also like to know what deadlines are upcoming.

Mayor Alan Harrison said he thinks delaying any decisions to the December meeting is fine for the sake of clarity.

He said when youth soccer presented to council, a synthetic turf field at Blackburn was one of several proposals.

“Two, actually, that are sort of like mini fields – not as large as normal and they’re for younger kids. The direction at that time was we were not willing to lease a portion of Blackburn Park, and we did not want to pay for it.

“This (letter) is the response and it does say in this letter, they do not expect the city to put forward monies to pay for it and they understand the city would also own the capital asset once it was built.

“I’m fine waiting for two weeks and we’ll have a full council as well, and hopefully we’ll have the answers by that time. And we’ll be able to make a decision for them.”



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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Salmon Arm council