Mayor Charles Pender is confident concerns about the artificial grass surface on Wellington Street Sports Complex will be put to bed once the maintenance program has been carried out on the state-of-the art soccer facility.
The venue, an 86,500 square feet of polypropylene fibres — known as FieldTurf — was laid down by Turf Masters in June 2008.
Corner Brook senior men’s soccer league president Pat Fewer expressed his concerns about the playing surface in a story in Thursday’s edition of The Western Star. At the association’s annual general meeting last weekend, an issue was raised regarding some well-used sections of the turf, like around both nets, having become flat and hard.
“Every time you leave the field you dump a pile of rubber out of your boots,” Fewer said in Thursday’s article as he pointed to maintenance of the facility as something that has to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The sports complex is owned by the City of Corner Brook, but upkeep is a shared responsibility with the local minor soccer group.
According to the mayor, city officials met with soccer representatives a few weeks ago and he’s confident everything will be just fine.
“My understanding is that that maintenance hasn’t yet been carried out. We will do our spring maintenance as well, which should help alleviate any problems with it,” Pender said. “As far as we’re concerned, there are really no big issues with it once the maintenance is carried out.”
The soccer association manages the complex, including the tennis and beach volleyball courts, and receives funding from those groups to help employ maintenance workers throughout the spring and fall. If there is a major issue that arises through the partnership, the association can request assistance from the city.
“If the soccer association feels that there is nothing to it and is relatively low maintenance, then once they do that maintenance there should be no issues,” he said.
Pender was quick to point out that city officials were aware that some work would have to be done toward upkeep after 10 years so the city will respond rather than react if a serious issue pops up moving forward.
Even with media reports in the United States outlining other customers having problems with FieldTurf and several taking legal action for similiar woes, the mayor wasn’t overly concerned and believes the maintenance will be carried out in a proper fashion by those charged with the task.
“This is not the United States. The legal system here is not the same down there,” he said of the legal battles both past and current particularly in the southeast U.S. “So we’re not going to overreact. We’re going to look at the issue that’s there, work with the soccer association and anything we see as an issue we’ll deal with it. So, normally it’s through maintenance and we can actually buy extra rubber I believe and put on the field if that’s required so there’s things that can be done.”
Looking at the age of the complex, he wasn’t overly surprised that there has been some wear and tear on a facility built to handle a steady stream of traffic.
“It’s six years old and we knew after 10 years there’d be some overhaul and so on. We had a very harsh winter, so you know there’s all kind of factors to deal with,” he said.