Sooke artificial turf field nearly complete

Field installation finds underground stream

The all-weather artificial turf field at Fred Milne Park is within weeks of becoming a reality and getting to this point has been an exercise in community spirit and support.

The project has been made possible by the generosity of businesses and individuals in Sooke, who have made the installation of one of the biggest facilities of its kind on the lower Island, said Laura Lockhart, president of Sooke Soccer Club.

But, like any project, the installation of this state of the art facility was not without its challenges.

“We always wondered about the northwest corner of the site. It was always prone to flooding. Even with only a little bit of rain, it’s always been a struggle to keep that part of the field playable. It wasn’t until we started excavation for the installation of the new field that we discovered that there was an underground spring running through that part of the grounds. No wonder it flooded,” said Lockhart.

Paul Clarkston, of Clarkston Construction, who has taken a lead role in the field’s construction, was surprised to find the pool of water at that location as soon as digging began.

“We were in one of the driest summers on record, but when we dug down we got to this big, wet, sloshy bunch of ground. It certainly came as a surprise … there was a crazy amount of water there,” said Clarkston.

He explained that the problem has now been rectified through the installation of extra on-field and perimeter drainage that diverts the water into the site’s drainage system.

“Things like that come up and have the potential of raising costs, but Paul and his crew handled it. They have just been tremendous,” said Lockhart.

“We are actually under budget thanks to the kind donations of people like the heavy machinery owners and operators. We had thousands of yards of gravel donated and even support for fundraisers like our bottle drive made a big difference. The wall of fame at our clubhouse alone resulted in $40,000. And, of course, without the $1 million we received from the [Capital Regional District] and the District of Sooke through the gas tax, and the support of the Sooke Community Association, none of this would have been possible,” she added.

While the field may look nearly completed, there are some final touches still needed and the actual grand opening won’t occur until early November.

“Our players are very excited. We had our team pictures taken inside this year in front of a green screen. Teams wanted those pictures to have the new field set as the background to their pictures, and I can’t blame them. It’s a beautiful facility,” said Lockhart.

Once it’s operational, Lockhart is certain the field will serve to draw some soccer players who had moved to play outside the community back to Sooke.

“We had a hard time retaining players because we had so many games cancelled due to wet field conditions. I guess having a river running under part of the field didn’t help,” said Lockhart.

The soccer club has already been approached by teams from other parts of Greater Victoria who may be interested in renting the facility, and local baseball and football teams will also be pleased to know that they will have access to the state of the art, fully lighted artificial turf field.

And, of course, all of those athletes will be pleased to learn that the northwest corner of the site is no longer a sloshy mess.

Just Posted

Pedestrain struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

Three Sooke athletes compete at provincial swim meet

The Tyee Swim Club made a splash at the provincial championships earlier… Continue reading

Students urged to get bus passes

Students needing to take a bus starting in September are urged to… Continue reading

Victoria airport workers rally on Tuesday

Food service workers call for improved working conditions

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Most Read