Artificial turf is being installed near Seventh Street and Harewood Avenue because turf fields can be damaged by overuse, the city said.
A $4.9 million government-funded project to install two artificial turf pitches in Nanaimo’s heavily used Harewood Centennial Park is expected to be completed by August 2023.
As well as new grass on both pitches, the money will pay for pitch lighting, covered benches for players and officials, and areas for spectator seating.
Artificial turf is being installed near Seventh Street and Harewood Avenue because turf fields can be damaged by overuse, the city said. By switching to artificial turf, the pitches will be usable all year round and will provide more hours of play for local sports groups.
The grounds are close to John Barsby High School which will be able to use them for physical education classes and sports teams.
Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Michael Wyse welcomed the project.
“This project will establish more high-quality recreational infrastructure that will not only increase youth participation in sports, but will also be a major asset in strengthening joint participation and planning of community events and wellness activities for our common community.
Nanaimo is experiencing high demand for its playgrounds and this project should help ease the pressure.
The city’s population has exceeded 100,000 and more and more people are participating in sports.
Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said investing in the park has made it a community destination. The artificial turf will meet the demand for sports fields in the city.
The project is currently in the design stage. Construction is expected to start in April next year.
The $4,971,332 project is receiving $2,528,091 from the province, $1,192,504 from the city, $750,737 from the federal government and $500,000 from the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District. Government funds come from the Investing in Canada program, which supports 57 projects in British Columbia
It is the latest upgrade to the 15.7 acre Harewood Park, where other features include nature areas, tennis courts, a lacrosse box, water spray park and playgrounds, as well as pitches and changing rooms.