An Oak Bay High School field sits fallow for three years

In 2015, the new Oak Bay High School was built, and along with the new building, three sports fields were established.  An artificial turf soccer field, the existing grass field and track, and a new multi-purpose grass field.  However, the multi-purpose field still can't be used for sporting events.

In 2016, the district of Oak Bay noticed that the multi-purpose field had issues with draining, and the Greater Victoria School District never officially took over control of the field because they thought remediation would be needed.  However, Mark Walsh, the Secretary Treasurer for the Greater Victoria School District, says after some disagreements on the extent of the remediation with a contractor, they decided last spring to take over the upgrades on their own, which so far has not fared well.

"Unfortunately not a single bidder for the work, given the hot market for, I think, every trade in Victoria.  So we've put that out again, for request for proposal, and we're pretty confident that we will have a bidder this time around, and hopefully that work will get done in the relatively near future.  Unfortunately though, as with any planting, it's going to take some time to actually have it useable."

He says drainage problem, which keeps the field green in the summer, but a soaking wet swamp in the winter, comes down to the soil composition, and significant compaction.

"So the issue is that the soil itself has far too much clay in it, and it's incredibly compacted so water's not getting through it at all.  And the other issue that we've discovered is that it's also got a type of sand that encourages compaction, so it's not the type of sand that we were expecting to be there unfortunately.  So those two issues are just creating this place where water doesn't permeate through the grass and so we just don't have drainage to make it a viable field."

Walsh says they have to take out all the dirt, replace it, and plant the grass.  They will be looking over proposals as they come in, but expect it would cost between 150 and $300,000.

Oak Bay is the largest school in the district, with very high quality athletic programs, but the school has been able to function with the other grass field and the only artificial turf in the district for practices.  However, they have lost opportunities to host home games, especially for their well know rugby team, and have been forced to use different sites instead of a brand new field.

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