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Delta Secondary wants to be in running for Ladner turf field

Another location is being pitched for a second artificial turf field in Ladner.

Another location is being pitched for a second artificial turf field in Ladner.

Members of the parent advisory council of Delta Secondary are to meet with the parks and recreation department this week to discuss a proposal to build a synthetic turf field at the Ladner high school.

The field, along with a new track, would be an ideal replacement for the worn out grass field at the school, said PAC chair Trish Cowley, adding it could be a great partnership opportunity between the school district and municipality.

"Most municipalities, actually, have a partnership with their school districts. That is how schools all over the Lower Mainland have turf fields," she said.

Cowley said having a turf field at a school would ensure more could enjoy the benefits rather than having it sit empty during most weekday mornings and afternoons.

"If they put the field at Dugald Morison (Park), it is not near any schools and there would be nobody there all day long. So as a taxpayer, if you're going to be spending millions of dollars, would you want in no man's land?"

Cowley said school district officials would also take part in the meeting.

When asked if the school district is pitching a joint project, chair Dale Saip said the school board is always interested in talking about things that would enhance the experience of students as well as the community.

Saying trustees would likely be interested in the idea when it's presented to them, Saip noted the issue would also likely be raised at an upcoming school board/Delta council liaison meeting.

Earlier this year, Delta council agreed to start a discussion with the sport user groups about adding a second synthetic turf playing surface somewhere in Ladner. The community currently has one such field at Holly Park, while Tsawwassen also has one and North Delta has two.

At a parks, recreation and culture commission meeting this summer, members were provided an overview of potential locations. Holly, Cromie and Dugald Morrison parks were identified as the three most viable options.

Commission chair Robert Campbell told the Optimist Dugald Morrison Park, across the street from Delta Hospital, is the favourite among commission members and the sport user groups, but a formal recommendation won't be coming forward by the commission until the user groups have something in writing, including a funding commitment.

"We have to get the user groups to all sign off on this. First of all, there is a domino effect with the parks because there's required upgrades to Cromie and Hawthorne (parks) to make it all work. So everybody has to be on board with that and understand that that has to happen," he said.

"With the costing, we're asking the groups to come forward with funding in the same percentage as the groups did with funding on Winskill (in Tsawwassen). There was not only a buy-in on the concept, there was also a financial buy-in from the user groups and we need Ladner to come to the table with that."

As far as how much a new turf field would cost, parks and recreation director Ken Kuntz recently told the Optimist it depends on the scale of the project. He said it could cost anywhere from $2.5 million to $4.5 million.

"We are looking for the sport user groups to put in a contribution, similar to what happened in Tsawwassen. We're talking about 10 per cent of the value of the project," Kuntz said.

The full-size grass soccer field at Dugald Morrison gets soggy in the fall and winter months, making it unusable for play.

As far as the option of locating the new turf field at DSS, Campbell said that's the first he heard of the proposal and nothing has come to the commission. Noting the field would have to be built to a high enough standard to withstand the rigours of high school football, Campbell said he would also have concerns about potential scheduling conflicts if Delta shared a field.

"If we had a field at Delta Secondary and we only have a field half the time, then we've only achieved 50 per cent of what we could at Dugald on our own. So I don't see it as something that solves the issues that we need to solve with Ladner fields," he said.

"Sure, we would consider going into something like that, but my personal view on that would be that it would have to be an additional amenity. It wouldn't change my view on Dugald Morrison Park... We encourage groups to come and present proposals and wouldn't want to discourage anybody."

Campbell said a proposal came forward before the Winskill field was built to add a synthetic turf field at South Delta Secondary, but that didn't work out.

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