British Columbia

Laying artificial grass will save money, keep staff safer, B.C. city says

While installing artificial turf is several times more expensive than real grass, Langford Mayor Stewart Young says the fake option pays for itself after three years.

Long-term plan will begin with replacement of roadside turf

Langford Mayor Stewart Young says the fake grass is cheaper for the city and safer for workers. ( Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

A Vancouver Island municipality is looking at new ways to keep the city green: by switching to artificial turf in some local green spaces.

The mayor of Langford, B.C., says the move could help save money and keep city workers safer. It's starting by laying down artificial turf on roadsides.

"We put it on the edge of roads where employees would have to get on a tractor to cut the lawn, and be buzzed past [by] all the traffic coming by it," Mayor Stewart Young said. "It's unsafe."

Artificial grass doesn't need nearly as much maintenance and so employees aren't sent out to water, fertilize, weed and cut as often.

The city is starting by laying down the grass along boulevards and in the centre medians. ( Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

'Money-saver'

While installing artificial turf is several times more expensive than real grass, Young said the fake option pays for itself after three years.

"If we're getting into maintenance and costs, it is a money-saver for us," he told Gregor Craigie, the host of CBC's On The Island.

"You get your money back."

Not everyone is a fan of the fake, Young admitted, but most residents see the practical side of it.

"We haven't had any pushback," he said. "People understand that we're [using] common sense."

Langford plans to roll out more artificial grass over the next few years. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

This isn't the first time Langford has put down artificial turf.

"We've had some in the ground for 10 or 15 years in our downtown, on Goldstream Avenue, and people won't even notice that it was even there — it just looks real," he said.

The city has partnered with local developers, who will help pay for the fake grass. Young said he plans to bring in more artificial turf over the coming years.

"You'll start to see it as a program over the next five years," he said.  

Langford, on southern Vancouver Island, is looking at new ways to keep the city green: by switching to artificial turf for some of the local green spaces. 8:58

With files from On The Island

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