ORIGINALLY POSTED Friday, April 20, 2007
I only had one concern about the decision to use artificial turf on the Sheppard's bush soccer fields.
The town does not own the property and $600,000.00 is a sizable chunk of change to spend on property we don't own.
We have an understanding with South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority. But they do not own it either. I think it's time we proposed to Ontario Heritage the property should be turned over to the town for a dollar. It's not that crazy. but it is another story.
Right now, there are many people in town upset because of the understanding we are adding six hundred thousand dollars to the tax bill to do this project .. In fact taxes are not being used for this purpose. The money has been obtained from development. It was taken as cash in lieu of parks and can only be used for recreational purposes. According to provincial regulations, 90% of a recreation project can be paid for with development charges, 10% must be paid for by the community.
Leisure Services Director Al Downey suggested to the soccer association, they should pay the 10%, and they agreed. Installation is being done by our parks department. No money is being spent that doesn't need to be spent.
People have written about the beauty of natural grass. It is beautiful but it's not natural. Herbicides must be used on the fields to keep them in that condition. They can only be played on twice a day. They cannot be used at all in wet weather. Maintenance is heavy for such limited use.
The advantages of artificial turf are several. There is no need for herbicides. Maintenance is minimal. Snow can be cleared from it, , allowing it to be used for extra months. The location already has lights, so it can be used in the dark. Unlimited games can be played on this material.
We are currently dependent on a number of private fields to accommodate the sport. Even so, we are under continual pressure to provide additional facilities. The numbers keep growing. That is something I wonder about.
The sum and substance of artificial turf is that the stuff is practical. It has been used elsewhere and is proven. It is not cheap, but the money used to pay for it must be used for this or a similar purpose . It substantially increases the use of the Sheppard's fields. It saves on maintenance. It takes off the pressure to provide more fields.
I am not inclined to extravagance with my own or the town's resources. I believe the decision is sound.