Synthetic field enhances year-round play

A lighted, synthetic turf field has been added to Willoughby Community Park, giving sports teams another facility that can be used year-round, regardless of less-than-ideal weather and shorter daylight hours in the fall and winter.

Soccer and softball players have a new facility to enjoy, thanks to a partnership between the federal government, the Township of Langley, Langley School District, and dedicated user groups that have put their money where their cleats are.

A lighted, synthetic turf field has been added to Willoughby Community Park, giving sports teams another facility that can be used year-round, regardless of less-than-ideal weather and shorter daylight hours in the fall and winter.

The $3 million project was made possible through a million-dollar contribution from the Government of Canada’s Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program and $600,000 in funding contributed by the Langley United Youth Soccer Association and the Langley Football girls’ soccer club.

“The Government of Canada is proud to celebrate the completion of the Willoughby Community Park project, supported by Canada’s Economic Action Plan,” said Langley MP Mark Warawa. “Installation of the lighted synthetic turf field will offer more practice time and space for Langley’s baseball, soccer, and lacrosse enthusiasts of all ages.”

The new field, which is located off 202A Street on the south side of R.E. Mountain Secondary School, near the Langley Events Centre, was officially opened by Langley MP Mark Warawa and Township of Mayor Rick Green on Sept. 2, 2011.

“The Township of Langley is truly grateful to our funding partners who made construction of this enhanced facility possible,” Mayor Green said. “We are thrilled that Langley United and Langley Football made such a generous contribution, and that the federal government saw the benefit of matching our funding.”

The facility includes a parking lot that was created for park users on R.E. Mountain school property, which Township Parks Design and Development Manager Al Neufeld said was very accommodating during the construction process.

“This is the third synthetic turf field featured at Willoughby Community Park, which sets the park up to host tournaments that can proceed without being dependent on the weather,” Neufeld said.

Synthetic fields, which are made from polypropylene fiber, can withstand more wear and tear and provide up to six times the amount of play than traditional turf fields. As well, the artificial fields are lit, allowing for night-time events and continued play through the entire year.

The new field is unique because it is one-third larger than traditional soccer fields and is the first synthetic field in Langley to include a softball diamond.  The extra size also allowed for the addition of two 8V8 soccer fields to the east of the full-sized soccer field.  The new complex also features extra storage areas for soccer goals, covered players’ benches, and covered spectator areas.

This third synthetic field complements a new indoor tennis facility, natural grass playing fields, sand volleyball courts, a spray park, playground, and picnic area that are featured in Willoughby Community Park. Two more softball diamonds are to be developed in the park in the future.