A new lighted synthetic turf field at Willoughby Community Park officially opened Sept. 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Located off 202A Street on the south side of R.E. Mountain Secondary School near the Langley Events Centre, the new field is unique because it is one-third larger than traditional soccer fields and is the first synthetic field in Langley to include a softball diamond.
The extra size also allowed for the addition of two 8 vs. 8 soccer fields to the east of the full-sized soccer field.
The $3 million project was made possible through a $1 million contribution from the Government of Canada’s Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program and $600,000 in funding contributed by the Langley United Youth Soccer Association and the Langley Football girls’ soccer club.
It will give sports teams another facility that can be used year-round, regardless of less-than-ideal weather and shorter daylight hours in the fall and winter.
“The Government of Canada is proud to celebrate the completion of the Willoughby Community Park project, supported by Canada’s Economic Action Plan,” said Langley MP Mark Warawa, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
“Installation of the lighted synthetic turf field will offer more practice time and space for Langley’s baseball, soccer, and lacrosse enthusiasts of all ages,” Warawa added.
“The Township of Langley is truly grateful to our funding partners who made construction of this enhanced facility possible,” Mayor Rick Green said.
“We are thrilled that Langley United and Langley Football made such a generous contribution, and that the federal government saw the benefit of matching our funding.”
The new complex also features extra storage areas for soccer goals, covered players’ benches, and covered spectator areas.
The facility includes a parking lot that was created for park users on R.E. Mountain school property, which Township Parks Design and Development Manager Al Neufeld said was very accommodating during the construction process.
“This is the third synthetic turf field featured at Willoughby Community Park, which sets the park up to host tournaments that can proceed without being dependent on the weather,” Neufeld said.
Synthetic fields, which are made from polypropylene fibre, can withstand more wear and tear and provide up to six times the amount of play than traditional turf fields.
As well, the artificial fields are lit, allowing for night-time events and continued play through the entire year.
The new field is next to a new indoor tennis facility, natural grass playing fields, sand volleyball courts, a spray park, playground, and picnic area in Willoughby Community Park.
Two more softball diamonds are to be developed in the park in the future.