Wet and muddy conditions of the Sooke Soccer Fields have long cried out for the a turf field, which is expected to open sometime this fall. (Octavian Lacatusu/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke turf field project awaits contractual agreement

District plans to implement contract before it releases funds to the Sooke Community Association.

The ball is rolling ever closer to the goal for the Sooke turf field as the district considers a contract before it releases funds for the long-awaited project.

A report from district staff, which is expected to be presented at the April 24 council meeting, will outline contractual conditions and criteria that will be required by the district upon releasing $700,000 to the Sooke Community Association.

While details of the contract aren’t yet available, much of it will revolve around how funds are released, at what stage, how district knows the project proceeds through to completion, and that it meets all bylaws and regulations, similar to contracts with the Sooke Region Tourism Association and the Sooke Region Historical Society.

“It covers both our interests and the funds themselves, and just protects all parties in that regard,” said Mayor Maja Tait, adding a decision will be made by council once the contract becomes clear.

Like Tait, other councillors, such as Rick Kasper, felt an “ironclad” contract was the smart thing to do, just to make sure every dime goes exactly where it’s supposed to.

“Assuming that the community association would want a contract, I don’t think any money should go out until funds have been identified,” Kasper told council.

Council already approved $400,000 for the turf field in March 2016 to come from the playing field reserve fund, and the following month after that, it approved an additional $300,000 from the gas tax reserve fund.

As the field currently stands, there’s certainly a lot of work remaining to be done.

Preparation of the turf field site began in early April, and is to be finished by the end of the month, while work on the north sideline wall is set to start on May 1 and go until May 15. Surface preparation is expected to begin mid-May and go through until early June, while fencing, lights and poles are set to be in place by the end of the month.

That’s when things get really intense, with grading, drainage and sidewalks starting in July and continuing until mid-August, with remaining fencing and storage area to be built late August. At this point, remaining will be the turf itself and the sundries, which are expected to be installed throughout September.

The Fred Milne Field Committee, a sub-group of the Sooke Community Association, will soon request a release of $270,500 so it can provide 35 per cent payment to the turf supplier and $70,000 for supply of poles and the lights.