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News: Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Board restricts the use of artificial turf sports field

After months of negotiations, the Abbotsford Board of Education failed to reach an agreement with the City of Abbotsford around the artificial turf sports field located at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. At the June 14, 2022 in-camera meeting, the Board determined that the ongoing capital replacement and maintenance costs necessary to maintain the artificial turf sports field Agreement with the city would significantly impact the school district's budget.

"Regrettably, the city is looking to the school district for a capital contribution when the original agreement never envisioned that we would have any responsibility for replacement costs," said Ray Velestuk, Secretary-Treasurer for the Abbotsford School District. "We fully support community use of our facilities and will continue to do so where possible, but not at the expense of the operations of our classrooms and schools. Ultimately, the expectation for the school district to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars now and for future replacement costs will significantly impact our school operations. This could affect things like teachers in our classrooms, learning resources and specialized positions or other programs and services that support our students."

Effective August 1, 2022, the Abbotsford School District will be restricting the Abbotsford Senior Secondary artificial turf sports field to school district use only. The city will no longer be approved for booking the sports field for community recreational activities. The action to restrict the use of the sports field is intended to extend the remaining life of the artificial turf from the projected two years to 5+ years. This extended timeline will allow the school district to assess replacement options and potential impacts on future budget implications.

The original 10-year agreement that dealt with the construction, maintenance and scheduling of the artificial turf sports field expired on August 31, 2021. The city was responsible for the original costs to upgrade to the artificial turf sports field and for ongoing maintenance and scheduling. 

The city has already advised the school district that they will not renew the agreement or replace the artificial turf sports field at WJ Mouat Secondary, leaving the school district with high remediation costs. The agreements for the other two artificial turf sports fields located between Colleen & Gordie Howe Middle School and WJ Mouat Secondary will not expire until 2036. All of these artificial turf sports fields are located on Abbotsford School District property.

Bookings for school facilities from outside user groups will continue to be coordinated through the school district's School Rentals Office. Bookings for sports fields, except for Abbotsford Senior Secondary's artificial turf sports field, will continue to be organized by the Abbotsford Parks, Recreation and Culture Office.

Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206