Topaz Park could be another step closer to getting a skate and bike park.
Victoria city councillors are set to vote on proposed designs for a new skate and bike park and sports field at Topaz Park during their Committee of the Whole meeting on Aug. 5.
Councillors agreed to spend nearly $8-million to construct a 3,000 square-metre skate park and a 6,000 square-metre bike park and install a new sports field at Topaz Park last year.
Thursday’s vote, if approved, would likely see the project move into the detailed design and construction phases.
The new bike park will feature an asphalt pump track that is designed to accommodate a range of skill levels, a flow trail or snake-run track surrounded by trees as well as a drop-in area.
At 3,000 square metres in size, the Topaz Park skate park will be roughly the same size as the one located at Victoria West Park and will feature a bowl zone, flow zone, learning zone and a main promenade area complete with rails.
Other features for the bike and skate park, according to the city, include lighting in all areas, integrated infrastructure and services for special events, barrier-free pedestrian pathways and social areas, and garden areas.
The bike and skate park will replace an existing ball field — located along Topaz Avenue and Blanshard Street — and is expected to cost $3.25 million.
With a price tag of $4.22 million, the new sports field will be comprised of artificial turf and will replace the existing field at the corner of Blanshard Street and Finlayson Street. The new field will include a full-size soccer pitch that can be used as a softball field and a youth-sized multi-purpose field. Other amenities include dugouts, player shelters, a backstop, expanded covered bicycle parking, integrated wheelchair seating in spectator areas, a shoe cleaning station and LED field lighting.
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City councillors briefly opted to scrap plans to install artificial turf last year — citing environmental concerns and costs — but ultimately went ahead with it after receiving heavy criticism from community users.
According to a city staff report dated July 22, the field design will incorporate “engineered and administrative controls” in an effort to manage the environmental impacts that come with installing artificial turf.
“Examples of these controls include specialized filtering infrastructure to capture material before it enters the storm sewer system, operating and maintenance procedures, user education, and boot scrape stations to keep infill material on the field,” the report says.
City staff has also has identified a recycling facility in Seattle that has the ability to process old turf carpet and infill material by separating and distributing recycled components to manufacturers for reuse in new products, while a European company with a “proprietary turf recycling process” that takes old turf and turns them into new turf carpets is expected to open a facility in the United States in 2022 or 2023.
“This closed-loop method would be a more sustainable option for recycling turf carpets. Staff will explore this option should it become available before the commencement of the new field construction,” reads the report.
The upgrades are all part of the city’s 2018 Topaz Park Improvement Plan, a long-term planning document that aims to revitalize Victoria’s third-largest park. Other long-term visions for the park include potential tennis and pickleball courts, a fenced dog leash area, and a sports hub.
Council’s scheduled vote comes a little more than a month since the conclusion of an online public feedback survey, which the city says saw nearly 80 per cent of the 471 respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that the proposed designs meet the expectations set out in the Topaz Park Improvement Plan.
Should the plans be approved, work on the skate and bike park is expected to begin later this year, with construction estimated to be completed sometime in the first quarter of 2022. Construction on the sports field would begin in early 2022 and is expected to be ready in the summer.