An SD61 graphic outlines the route and plan for removal and replacement of the turf field at Oak Bay High. (Courtesy Greater Victoria School District)

Greater Victoria School District gets rolling on new artificial turf at Oak Bay High

SD61 hopes to have field replaced and in use by August

The defunct turf field at Oak Bay High is set to be replaced this summer.

The Greater Victoria School District closed the field at Oak Bay High indefinitely in November 2019 as thousands of the artificial plastic green blades of grass were discovered finding their way into nearby Bowker Creek. At the time, the school district did a cleanup that included installing mats into the storm drains and tarp barriers at the base of the fence to catch the plastic.

RELATED: Oak Bay High soccer turf closed indefinitely as plastic sheds into Bowker Creek (video)

Closure of the busy field impacted many, including students and an active Bays United Football Club.

“This field adds such value to our community by creating a space for both students and members of the public to engage in play and physical education. It will be great to see players back on the field,” said Howard McElderry, Bays United Football Club board president. “While the original turf prematurely shed, the supplier is committed to replacing the surface under warranty and Bays remains confident that the mat and rubber infill pellets are still the best and safest playing surface choice.”

SD61 says the plan is to cut the turf into strips, roll to limit shedding, then move it to trucks via the adjacent concrete pathways. The removal route means taking down a section of fence on the southeast side of the field but was chosen to limit potential for shedding. The 90-tonne plastic turf field is comprised of plastic rubber crumbs as a base which keeps the strands standing up while draining water. The rubber infill pellets will be collected for reuse on the replacement field and all remaining material will be collected, contained and recycled.

RELATED: Oak Bay’s turf field could be covered in tarp for months

Once the old is out, the new comes in, rolled out in sections then fused together. Once the field is assembled and lines placed, the reused infill will be installed. The school district will also add a permanent perimeter around the field and additional filters to prevent debris from leaving the property.

“We are very excited to have this turf replaced and look forward to seeing it utilized by our community again. Weather permitting, we are hopeful to have this field open for use come mid-August,” board chair Jordan Watters said in a news release. “We also want to thank our partner Bays United Football Club for their continued patience throughout the process and timeline of replacement, and to vigilant community members who provided notification, input and guidance.”

Work is tentatively scheduled to start July 15 and is expected to take about a month.

RELATED: School board considers crumb rubber turf options

RELATED: Crumb rubber causes turf field concerns



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