The feasibility of an outdoor artificial turf sport field is being explored.
Artificial Turf Field Project
Funds for the Artificial Turf Field project are included in the draft 2017-2021 Five Year Financial Plan to undertake a facility site selection process, prepare a project brief, and prepare design development through to tender ready drawings in 2017. This work builds upon the 2015 Whistler Multi-Use Recreation Facility Investigate Study and the 2016 Outdoor Artificial Turf Field Needs Assessment. If approved, construction would commence in 2018.
In response to community discussion and the Recreation and Leisure Master Plan, the RMOW commissioned a detailed Outdoor Artificial Turf Facility Needs Assessment Study in 2016. The purpose of the Study Assessment is to confirm the need for such a facility and how best to meet these needs. If a new or substantially reworked existing facility is recommended, the assessment will provide clear direction on the project scope, scale and mix of elements. Results were presented to Council at their December 6, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting. Key findings include:
- Locally, regionally and nationally the popularity of soccer is increasing.
- Regionally, the popularity trajectory is thought to be positive
- Soccer’s current popularity
- Relatively low cost to participate
- Gender equity
- Racial diversity
- Increased media profile
- Canadian Women’s National Team
- Three Canadian Major League Soccer franchises
Locally, there is demand for additional local hours primarily in early and late season
- A poorer weather and earlier darkness timeframe
- Lengthen season from 21 to 35 weeks (40 per cent increase)
- Adult soccer is capped at eight teams
- Youth soccer has reduced programs and moved activities elsewhere
- Rep teams home fields are in Squamish
- Late outdoor season start relative to the Lower Mainland or Squamish puts Whistler teams at a competitive disadvantage
The two Myrtle Philip Community School fields are the preferred choice for soccer users. These fields are:
- Class B quality
- Centrally located
The Myrtle Philip Community School fields are at or very near maximum use during peak times
- Historically these fields have been overused
- Horticultural standards: North Vancouver has a 250-hour limit
- Soccer use has exceeded 500 hours
- Whistler Youth Soccer Club is proactive in redistributing hours and reducing programs
- Excluded from this are hours used by School District 48 use and casual pick up use
- Demand has been distributed elsewhere
Other fields with capacity are not used for quantitative and qualitative reasons:
- These reasounds include the size, quality, availability of ancillary facilities, convenience, volunteer effort, social
- Additional field space will be required to accommodate growth
- The number of Spruce Grove baseball diamond field bookings are increasing and there is unmet demand
- 1,450 hours of annual use on rectangular fields by soccer, rugby, football and Ultimate Frisbee
- 1,800 hours of annual slo-pitch softball and baseball use on Spruce Grove fields. The Spruce Grove baseball diamond fields are illuminated providing hours that are not afforded to rectangular field users and the three diamonds are clustered together create a synergy and atmosphere that builds upon itself
- Anecdotally there is unmet ice arena demand
A link to the December 6, 2016 Needs Assessment Committee of the Whole presentation is provided below.
Following Council review and support of the project through the municipal budget process, a site selection process will be initiated. A business case analysis will be undertaken to inform the capital and long-term operational costs as well as financial implications, risks and opportunities to local clubs, the sport tourism economy, and ultimately the resort community. Artificial turf product options will be studied based on human health and long-term environmental impact. A project brief with preliminary design drawings and costing information for a preferred facility and site. The project brief will form the basis of a real project to explore external funding opportunities.
This work is required in order to validate assumptions, understand potential opportunities and issues, and provide a solid platform upon which future decisions can be made.
Phase I: Multi Use Recreation Facility Investigative Study (completed December 2015)
Phase II: Facility Needs Assessment (completed December 2016)
Phase III: Site Selection Process, Business Case Analysis, Project Brief and Council update (Q1 and Q2 2017 )
Phase IV: Design development, construction drawings, tender for construction, Council construction contract review and award (Q2 2017 to Q1 2018)
Phase V: Construction (2018)
To continue to move forward, the project will require the support of the Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee and Council at the end of Phases II, III and IV.
Stakeholder and Community Engagement
Stakeholders along with primary and secondary user groups will be engaged directly in all phases of the work.
Public feedback will also be received through the annual budget process
Specifically Chapter 3 ‘Sport Fields’Whistler Multi-Use Recreation Facility Investigative Study
This 2015 study investigated the capital and operational costs for an indoor multi-use recreation facility where the primary use is field sports. Over the course of the Study it became apparent that the cost to build and operate an indoor facility is substantial and with financial risk, and an outdoor artificial turf field of lesser cost and risk should be considered. An outdoor facility is discussed in Section 6 and Appendices E through G. This Study was shared with the Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee in November 2015 and at the Committee of the Whole meeting on December 1, 2015.