Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay turfs plan to build 2 artificial soccer fields

Two proposed artificial turf fields for Chapples Park in Thunder Bay, Ont., will remain covered in grass.

Federal funding never materialised for artificial turf

The premier field at Chapples Park in Thunder Bay will see $1.25M of work completed over the next year, to improve drainage at the field. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

Two proposed artificial turf fields for Chapples Park in Thunder Bay, Ont., will remain covered in grass.

The parks department told city council this week that construction of two artificial fields, originally scheduled for 2017, could not go forward because federal funding had not yet been approved.

Instead, the city will use the project money, totalling $1.25 million, to rebuild the premier field at Chapples, which has a number of drainage issues.

"It came down to timeline because the funding we had in place had a deadline," said Cory Halvorsen, the city's manager of parks and open spaces.

"If we want to make progress on soccer or multi-sport field improvements, we needed to act now."

Halvorsen said the money is in the form of a debenture that needs to be used by next summer.

A report to council also noted some developments have taken place involving field renewal at Chapples. The report states:

  1. The two Catholic School Board artificial turf fields have been constructed and are fully operational. It has been confirmed that these fields will be made available for bookings to the public going forward, which will meet some of the community demand for this type of facility.
  2. The priority level to construct the proposed indoor sports facility at Chapples has increased significantly, which would result in another full-sized FIFA artificial turf sport field being accessible to the community.
  3. Meetings have been held with Soccer Northwest representatives and they have confirmed that the priority level for the city to construct an outdoor artificial turf field has dropped for them (due to the reasons noted above).
  4. The external funding framework has changed since the fall, with less of an emphasis on recreation; therefore it is unclear if funding will become available for the outdoor artificial turf project or what the timing of any formal announcements will be.

Halvorsen said the drainage work on the Chapples field would be complete by August 2019.

About the Author

Jeff Walters


Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.


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