Mission council is moving forward with a new artificial turf field for 2016.
The location for the new field has not yet been identified, but this week, the district released a work plan and time line for the project.
“The development of a lighted, artificial turf field will go a long way to meeting the needs of many field sports, specifically fall/winter sports like soccer, field lacrosse, football, field hockey, and rugby,” said Kerry Bysouth, the district’s manager of parks and facilities, in a report to council.
Bysouth noted games and practices are disrupted when the existing grass fields are closed during inclement weather conditions. “In addition, Mission lacks lighted practice fields in the fall and winter months.”
The project will be done in four phases. The first phase begins this month with the establishment of a team to identify possible locations for the field. The design phase will take place in August or September, and construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2016.
The final phase, which includes a grand opening for the new field is expected to be complete by October of 2016.
Mission’s director of parks and recreation, Maureen Sinclair, said discussions about the project will begin with district staff and other community groups, such as school board, will be brought in later. Council has moved funding for the new field into the 2015 budget, but the final cost of the project will not be known until October.
A site needs to be identified first before budget details are determined, said Sinclair.
A new artificial turf field is exciting for Mission, but the school district is not in a position to financially contribute to the projects, said Mission school board chair Rick McKamey.
The education funds are tight, said McKamey, noting the proposed cuts by the provincial government this year will see about $300,000 disappear from the Mission school district budget. “It could be high $200,000s or low $300,000.”
The school district is currently engaged in budget discussions.
“We can’t jeopardize programs in classrooms to develop an artificial turf field at this time,” said McKamey. “If we were to contribute in any way in resources, we would have to take away from the classroom level.”
However, McKamey told The Record he would like to work with the district towards the future of Mission.
“I’m excited they have opened the door for us to be a part of the discussion,” said McKamey.