Unless you play soccer, your main contact with the soccer fields at Chandler Park is the view when you drive by. Presently that view includes a red mesh fence.
As reported in the paper, the newly leveled field at Chandler cannot be opened because intermittent gaps in the sod were discovered after the sod was laid. Fixing the gaps will take time and you may see the fence for much of the summer.
What has not recently been reported is the large amount of GOOD NEWS regarding the soccer fields.
One piece of good news is that after requests to council over the past 20 or 30 years, this mayor and council undertook the work to repair safety problems and enable staff to reverse the steady decline in field quality.
Thanks to the Town, both fields at Chandler now have irrigation, and compaction was removed and the surface was leveled on the highway field.
A second piece of good news is that field quality is steadily improving.
Last spring, the Third Avenue field at Chandler was the best it has been for years. This winter, we had the worst frost heave of soil and frost kill of turf in my memory.
Many Bulkley Valley sports fields are closed and will be closed for months, but there was only one week delay in opening the Third Avenue field.
Credit goes to the staff and to the Town for purchasing new equipment and for the new maintenance program.
The third piece of good news is that Council has committed to a second phase of work leveling the area on the downtown side of Chandler for a third field.
This action will reduce stress on the other fields and make more productive use of the entire playing surface.
In conclusion, there have been major improvements already at Chandler Park even if we cannot yet make use of them all.
Redevelopment of the Chandler Fields is a partnership and Smithers Soccer has added a lot of strong players by having the Town of Smithers on its team.
All parties have invested considerable time and resources to date, will learn from the set back and continue to work constructively towards creating a valuable and well used Town resource.
-Bill Price is president of the Bulkley Valley Soccer Society.