Aldergrove soccer enthusiasts are keen to turn a gravel practice area into an synthetic turf field, but Langley Township council wants more information before giving the plan the green light.
Reid McDonald appeared before Township council Monday afternoon, suggesting that the Township not proceed with a $250,000 parking area, which is part of a $1.7 million project to build a new turf field at Aldergrove Athletic Park. He said that, with that money, funds raised by the community and an estimated $103,000 saving in the current project’s budget, there would be enough funds to pay $436,214 to convert the current gravel field to synthetic turf.
However, council members grappled with the financial implications of the request. They tried to figure out just how the proposal would work, and how much the community would need to raise. McDonald said about $135,000 has been pledged already to convert the gravel field to turf.
Al Neufeld, manager of parks design and development, said that because a contract has already been awarded, the Township would not likely get all the $250,000 back if it cancelled the parking lot addition.
“With charge orders, we don’t always get full value credit. We usually would get 60 to 80 percent back.”
Councillor Charlie Fox already had a notice of motion on the soccer field on the agenda. He agreed to combine his motion, calling for staff to prepare a report on the feasibility of the request to move the parking lot funds over to the turf practice field project, with another from Councillor Bob Long.
Councillor Kim Richter asked about the distribution of synthetic turf fields in the Township. Neufeld replied that there are synthetic turf fields at McLeod Athletic Park and adjacent to the Langley Events Centre. The one in Aldergrove is under construction, but there are none in Walnut Grove or Brookswood.
“They have all-weather practice fields, We would recommend synthetic turf in Brookswood and Walnut Grove first. There is less desire to play or practice on gravel as new synthetic fields become available,” he said.
Council agreed to get further information from staff about the financial implications of turning the gravel field to synthetic turf, and to look at how it fits in with other field priorities.
Members of the community who attended council promised they would help raise more funds for the project.