City council will hear suggestions about shifting plans for two turf fields at Topaz Park, to one at Topaz and one at Vic High. (File photo)

City considers shifting plans at Topaz Park to install turf field at Vic High

Splitting design costs for two separate fields would save time and money, staff say

City staff are looking at transplanting turf plans from Topaz Park to Victoria High School.

The Topaz Park Improvement Plan originally included the installation of two turf fields, coming in at $4-5 million, but city staff are recommending a shift in plans to promote a partnership with the Greater Victoria School District (SD61).

In the proposal, put forward by Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities, and Derrick Newman, assistant director of facilities management, funding could be shifted to pare the Topaz work down to the replacement of its current turf field, trimming the costs down to $1.5-2.3 million, while the second turf field would be installed at Vic High.

WATCH: Topaz Park improvements for discussion at open house

The Victoria High School Alumni Association has been pushing for a renewed outdoor sports field at the school since 2011. At that time, the city committed $250,000 to the project so that the alumni could match the funds, bringing the total up to $550,000 for a phased-in plan where total costs for field improvements, including lighting and the installation of a field house, is anticipated to cost between $2-3 million. Plans were approved in 2014.

The new Topaz Park proposal as put forward at an open house on April 21, 2018 (File contributed/ City of Victoria)

In a report to council, Soulliere and Newman suggest that the already-approved funds of $430,000 for designing the Topaz turf fields be split to accommodate $180,000 to design a single turf field at Topaz Park, and $250,000 to design a turf field at Vic High.

ALSO READ: Victoria High turf field/track project hits important funding milestone

“Reducing the planned artificial turf field design at Topaz Park from two fields to replacement of the existing field, will reduce the City’s overall capital investment requirements,” the report reads.

“Meanwhile, investment in the Victoria High School field project, along with other partners, reduces the financial burden on any one party, while increasing the inventory of high-quality sport fields within the municipality.”

If this shift in funding is approved, the ensuing construction of the Topaz field would be the City’s responsibility as part of the 2020 financial planning process while the construction of the Vic High field would be the responsibility of SD61.

The matter will be up for discussion at the committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, June 6.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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