Parks director Wendy Gilbertson recommended that the Town of Gibsons shut down Brothers Park as soon as possible to allow for some much needed maintenance, expected to require four months.
Construction of a geo-exchange field in the park means that Brothers will be at least partially decommissioned for the time being.
“I would close it right away so we can get started,” Gilbertson said, recommending that the entire park be closed so repairs and upgrades on the irrigation system might begin in earnest. “We’ve got September and October to get this work done and get that grass started being established, because after that, it won’t.”
According to the parks director, closures of other fields operated by the school district and Sunshine Coast Regional District had meant the Gibsons turf picking up the slack.
Now, Gilbertson said, “it’s our turn.”
Over the past years the irrigation system has begun to show its age. At roughly 40 years old, the sprinklers require additional valves and the water pressure has dropped noticeably.
Fresh soil may also be needed to rejuvenate the fields, which, according to Gilbertson, may be the most heavily used in the area.
At a field users’ meeting in July, residents were informed that the geo-exchange field installation could create the opportunity to bring much needed upgrades to Brothers Park, meaning that instead of closing the southern portion of the area, the entire amenity could be shut down for a number of months.
“I’m also asking for a bit of a re-allocation in the capital budget,” she explained, pointing specifically to some $6,500 marked for new aluminium bleachers. “I would say let’s just get in, get it done in the next year, replace them with wood.”
She also suggested that a previous plan to replace toilets at Pioneer Park could be amended to help pay for new soil at Brothers.
Estimates for the Pioneer Park upgrades came in above what was previously planned, she said.
She said many field users were in favour of the move, which could also take advantage of a two-month window where soccer teams might not be active in the area.
A batting cage in the park was also expected to be dismantled. As of yet, there were no plans to have it rebuilt.
“If we can find time I would really be in favour of making sure that what we do is solid and working before we let people back on to damage it,” suggested Coun. Lee Ann Johnson before voting for the motion.
Coun. Gerry Tretick moved the recommendations: “Based on everything Wendy has told us, I think this is a good plan to move forward with,” he said.