Oak Bay turf opens to rainy season test

Field opening celebration cites collaboration for artificial option

Bays United FC president Howard McElderry and past-president and Oak Bay Coun. Hazel Braithwaite sign ‘game balls’ commemorating the turf opening.




Rainy day soccer cancellations are a thing of past for athletes using the new Oak Bay High artificial turf.

“This project really began in 2010 with the early planning and it’s taken quite a while to come to fruition,” said Howard McElderry, Bays United president. “Bays United is absolutely thrilled about this field facility and we’re starting to experience all the pleasures of it through our 1,500 members.”

Mayor Nils Jensen highlighted the community-wide collaboration for the project.

“The building of the school has been just a model of co-operation and partnership throughout every phase,” Jensen said.

“This will be an excellent addition to our community (and) to Bays United. It really is an epitome of everything that has gone so well here.”

The new field opened for play at the start of the school year. “They are our partner in this wonderful facility, they made it happen by bringing their players to the field and the money to the table,” said principal Dave Thomson.

Bays United FC contributed to the capital costs of the field and entered into a 25-year agreement with the Greater Victoria School District to assist with operating costs, in exchange for community field use.

“When you’re all past soccer age and your kids are having grandkids and they’re playing it will continue to be supported by Bays,” said McElderry. “It’s been a wonderful partnership.”

One of the largest soccer clubs in the area, Bays doesn’t have its own fields but rather forges relationships such as this one with the Greater Victoria School District.

“This field has really been put to the test this last month with buckets and buckets of rain water and yet it has remained consistently viable. We are grateful for the fact that we no longer have to experience mud baths in the rainy season of the year,” said Deborah Nohr, Greater Victoria School District trustee.

“For years to come this field will be a special place to make memories. It will be a place where our youth develop life-long friendships.”