The Saanich Fusion Football Club took a step closer to a new field after Saanich council Monday night approved a $300,000 loan to help replace the existing turf at Tyndall Park.
Council unanimously endorsed the interest-free loan, which will be used to fund a new artificial turf field. The entire project is expected to cost $781,000, with the club fundraising to cover the rest of the bill.
Saanich Fusion, which was formed by the amalgamation of the Gordon Head Soccer Association and Cordova Bay Soccer Club in 2011, is based at Tyndall Park and is responsible for maintaining the field.
The existing artificial turf, in place since 2008, is deemed to be at the end of its life and poses potential safety risks due to damage over the years.
In supporting the loan, Coun. Teale Phelps Bonderoff noted Saanich Fusion has been a responsible operator and good custodian of the turf. He also noted the turf is used by many groups outside of the club, making it a community amenity.
Coun. Nathalie Chambers asked if the turf was an environmental problem, like the artificial turf at Oak Bay High School, which was replaced three years ago because plastic strands were ending up in Bowker Creek.
The replacement turf field at Oak Bay High has also been plagued with problems, with clumps of the material tracked by shoes also ending up in the creek, after the tiny rubber pellets clumped together in warm weather.
Chambers was told the new turf at Tyndall is not the same as the one used at Oak Bay and is guaranteed by the installer.
The loan is to be repaid over five years, which is nothing new for the club, which borrowed from Saanich in 2008 to make the existing artificial turf field a reality.
According to the club, it has seen registration grow in excess of 25 per cent compared with pre-pandemic numbers, suggesting it should have the funds to handle the repayment terms.