Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Upgraded soccer fields in big demand

Paul Vanderhoeven London This Week

A two-year, $2.5-million improvement program has the city's competitive-level soccer fields in the best shape they've ever been, but prime-time space is still in short supply.
Kent McVittie, the city's manager of recreational services and attractions, said no new upgrades have been put forward this year after coming off major upgrades, which were completed last year.
Half of those fields were ready to use last season and the rest should be ready for play this year, McVittie said.
"Now, it's a matter of starting to maximize all that time that those upgrades have allowed for."
McVittie said irrigation systems were installed in 24 city fields and most of those pitches also needed extensive levelling.
Lighting was also added to North London Athletic Fields (Fields 4 and 5), Citywide Park (Fields 1 and 2) as well as fields at Stoneybrook and Ted Earley parks.
"Going from one lit field in the city to six lit fields in the city, that's a big jump," he said.
Even with improvements to existing fields and the addition of two new fields -- one at West Lions Park and the other at Adelaide Street and Windermere Road -- high demand fields are booked solid Monday to Thursday.
"I'm sure there's still lots of teams that would like to find some time on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. Those times are fairly booked up, but there's still quite a bit of capacity in the system for Friday, Saturday and Sunday times."
The city is trying to encourage more organizations to juggle their schedules to make full use of the soccer pitches on weekends, McVittie said.
"We're finally getting to the point where we are catching up thanks largely to the initiatives of the soccer task force that brought this issue to the forefront," he said.


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