Despite doubled cost, Nanaimo proceeding with construction of new artificial turf fields
Opposing councillors cite cost overrun, health concerns and environmental issues as reasons for withholding support
April 21, 2023 By Turf & Rec
The construction of two new artificial turf sports fields in Nanaimo, B.C. is going to cost twice the amount originally budgeted.
The project at Harewood Centennial Park is proceeding, but the cost has escalated to $9.9 million from $4.9 million. City council voted 6-3 to proceed with the project despite the cost increase. Councillors who opposed the project not only cited the doubled cost, but said there were health and environmental concerns associated with artificial turf to consider.
The cost increase is being covered by a provincial growing communities fund, revenue from casino reserves, a special initiatives reserve fund and the Nanaimo Ladysmith public schools.
Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said the fields will be used by thousands, adding the cost overrun was inevitable given the realities of the modern world.
Doug Wournell, a sports architect and authority on modern artificial turf fields, said there is no solid evidence to suggest that new synthetic fields lead to health concerns. Claims that soccer goalies are particularly prone to cancer have been debunked, he added.
Wournell also noted artificial turf playing fields offer six times the usage of natural fields
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