Delta Secondary has provided an intriguing twist in the conversation about where Ladner's second artificial turf field should be located. In fact, the more I think about the town's only high school playing host to the field, the more sense it begins to make.
Whether Delta's two branches of local government can come together to make it happen is the $2.5 million to $4.5 million question, but it's a discussion that would most definitely be worth having in the months to come.
Delta began seeking out a site for a second turf field earlier this year, turning to user groups for input on which park would be the most appropriate. Three contenders were eventually pared to one and I can definitely see the rationale for leaning toward Dugald Morrison: The existing soccer field is a soggy mess and the municipal precinct location translates into decent access and limited impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
However, now that Delta Secondary has been added to the mix, I'm not so sure Dugald Morrison should continue to be considered the frontrunner. The biggest thing DSS, and its 1,200-student population, has going for it is the obvious ability to make much greater use of the amenity.
The field, which would be hopping evenings and weekend regardless of where it's located, would also be busy throughout the day if sited at DSS, something that couldn't be said for Dugald Morrison, the closest school to which was closed a couple of years ago.
That's not to say the Delta Secondary plan doesn't have its drawbacks, including the imposition of lights, traffic and noise on neighbouring homes, but I suspect the largest stumbling block may well come from some sort of turf war between the municipality and school district.
Given the district doesn't have two nickels to rub together these days, it would likely be up to Delta to finance the lion's share of the project, only to see the finished product shine on school board property. That might prove hard to stomach for some over at municipal hall, but they must remember it's all the same taxpayer, and if that taxpayer can get more bang for the buck by locating the field at the high school rather than a park, then Delta has to seriously consider that possibility.
I've been to turf fields attached to high schools in Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge in the last few months, so clearly there's an ability to make it happen.
Whether that can take place here remains to be seen.