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Work begins on Port Moody’s new turf field at Inlet Park

Discussions to redevelop the old all-season field go back to at least 2010
Srdjan Djekanovic and Matthew Campbell of the Port Moody Soccer Club discuss plans for a new turf field at Inlet Park with the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs, Nathan Cullen during an announcement last April of funding for the project.

Skinned knees and gravel-filled shoes should be a thing of the past for Port Moody soccer and slow pitch players by the end of the year.

Work has begun on the $6.6-million redevelopment of Inlet Park that will transform the old all-weather field into a lush, green turf pitch that meets FIFA specifications for soccer and can be divided into three smaller Super-8 fields for younger players.

The corners of the field will also be marked to accommodate slow pitch.

Anna Mathewson, Port Moody’s general manager of community services, said preliminary work that includes deconstruction of the old field house and removal of fencing and dugouts began in December. And while that’s a couple of months later than originally planned, she said the field should still be ready by the end of 2023.

“At this time, we do not anticipate any significant changes to the overall project timeline,” Mathewson said, adding contracts to construct the field will be awarded by the end of January with that work expected to begin in the spring.

Mathewson said site preparation was supposed to begin last fall but the finalization of contracts for the work took longer than expected, as did the disconnection of utilities.

The completion of the facility will be good news for user groups like Port Moody Soccer Club (PMSC), which has been feeling the strain of field capacity in the city as its membership has grown to 1,700 youth and after-school players along with another 400 adult players.

Sports teams have shunned the all-weather field in recent years as it turns to mud in rainy weather and a hard-packed dust bowl when it’s dry.

Instead, it’s mostly been used as a parking lot for construction workers and visiting film crews, as well as occasional special events like last summer’s Brewhalla beer festival and food truck events.

Matthew Campbell, the president of PMSC, said the new pitch has been a long time coming.

In fact, public hearings into various redevelopment options for Inlet Park were first held in 2010 and 2011 but none gained traction as council balked at the cost, which ranged from $3.7 million to $5.7 million at the time.

But last April, the project got the kick in the grass it needed to proceed with $4.4 million in funding coming from the provincial government, as well as a boost from the federal government, to supplement a $1.65-million contribution from the city.

When completed, Inlet Field will be Port Moody’s third artificial turf surface. The project also includes 88 parking stalls and two new playgrounds.

But plans for a new 320-sq. m. field house that’s also been on PMSC’s wish list for several years will have to wait until additional funding can be secured.

Still, Campbell said, with the facility’s proximity to the Suter Brook and Klahanie neighbourhoods, as well as new developments just across Murray Street, it has the potential to become a jewel of the city.

“It’s a beautiful location,” he said.