The proposal to build new artificial turf fields in Inter-River Park continues to draw ire from local residents. Residents have been speaking out against the proposal at District Council meetings, enumerating their concerns in letters to Council, and contributing to the Inter River Community Association Facebook group.
Long time Lynnmour resident Phil Dupasquier has done a detailed analysis of the project’s feasibility study, as prepared by District of North Vancouver (DNV) staff in conjunction with civil engineering consultants R.F. Binnie & Associates. Phil’s ability to read between the lines comes, in part, from his deep knowledge of the needs of the North Shore sports community. For more than 12 years Phil has volunteered his time as a coach, manager, and participant for various sports in North Vancouver. He currently sits on the Board of the North Shore Girls Soccer Club (though his views on this are personal) and plays soccer and hockey.
In summary, Phil asks important questions about the study’s assessment of the impact to the area’s traffic and environment. He also raises concerns about the ongoing cost of maintaining the fields, the impact on users of the nearby trails, and the actual need for more fields when field sports registration is declining and there is a shortage of volunteers to assist with tournaments.
Phil’s entire letter is reproduced below.
Dear Mayor and Council,
My name is Phil Dupasquier and I live [in Lynnmour North]. I’m writing you today to voice my opinion on the proposed artificial turf (AT) fields being contemplated at Inter-River Park.
After careful examination of the proposal I have come to the conclusion that it should not go ahead as outlined. My reasoning is multifaceted and is focused as much on the flaws within the proposal as it is with the actual concept.
The first problem I have with the proposal is that the traffic analysis presented as part of the open house material shows only weekend impact, whereas greater impact will be happening during weeknights. This is because, unlike game days, training days on AT
fields usually involve 3 to 4 teams per field. That means twice as many cars and kids. The corresponding increase in traffic is not considered. In conjunction with this is the additional impact of traffic from Capilano University during weeknights. The area is already disproportionately affected by non-resident traffic going to Capilano University, the Seymour Demonstration Forest, the Cemetery, North Shore Equestrian Centre and Boal Chapel.
Building an AT field on an old landfill is problematic. In fact the Open House material even identify this; “As field 1 would be located on a former landfill, this presents additional challenges. Preloading is required, which will increase the construction duration. Additionally, there is the risk of future field settlement.” This just doesn’t seem to be a fiscally responsible decision especially considering the problems other North Shore AT fields have had (William Griffin and Kinsmen flooding).
Nowhere in the report is the impact of introducing field lighting to the area addressed (its impact on the residents and wildlife in the area).
Nowhere in the report is it discussed how introducing AT Fields in the area will affect the current users of the trail system next to the proposed fields. Currently, dog walkers have embraced the decommissioned field as part of their circuit. It has become very popular and rarely is there no one on it. This may be a more suitable use for this space.
Tournaments are already successfully held on the North Shore (160 teams participated in the NSGSC Thanksgiving tournament). AT Fields do not allow for more tournaments. The biggest obstacle to hosting large tournaments in North Vancouver is the number of volunteers needed.
The stated goal of the North Vancouver Football Club is to build a clubhouse in this location (I’m assuming that this is represented as the Field House). This is not clearly presented in the report. It is gives nothing back to the local community but benefits one specific club.
Registration for all field sports is declining across the lower mainland. As our population ages other forms of recreation will be needed.
The report attempts to justify the removal of ⅓ of the forested area by explaining that “27% of these trees are in poor condition or dead states of health.” This is the nature of a forest. It is constantly in a state of evolution. Trees die, decompose and other arise. It is not a reason to cut down a forest.
The fields as presented do not offer adequate warm up areas for players. This will
cause teams to begin warming up on fields 2 through 8 in contravention of District By-laws.
The map as presented does not show the ‘whole picture’. We know that access to St.
Denis Avenue via Keith Road will be closed and thus traffic will either flow up Premier Street or via a connection to Old Lilloet/Lilloet Road. This will have profound impact on the area and its relation to these proposed fields.
The report fails to consider the impact of development in the area. Lynnmour is in the
midst of a development boom with densification taking place. All of the studies presented do not factor in the cumulative impact of more residents, more specifically there is only one way in and out of the area. The intersection of Mt. Seymour Pkwy and Lillooet Road is a choke point that is only going to get busier.
The report, as presented, is relying on information from a company that would be hired to construct it. This seems like an obvious conflict of interest. It is in Binnie’s interest to leave out considerations that would put the project in peril or limit the scope of the project.
I appreciate that a decision like this is hard but I hope that after reading my letter and the letter of others you, Mayor and Council, will agree that this is not the right project for this area.