JDF Soccer Association eyes turf as future West Shore needs arise

With the sport booming, the Juan de Fuca Football Association has concerns about long-term access to playing venues.

The club now has more than 2,000 members – making it one of the largest user groups on the West Bank – and has been growing rapidly over the past four to six years, a momentum association president Kevin Allen hopes will continue. While there is still capacity to open new turf fields in Langford, such as the soon-to-open Center Mountain Lellum Secondary and North Langford Primary fields, Allen fears that won’t be the case for long.

“I really feel that if they think that what they currently have available in the West Bank is enough, then they are missing something.”

Lighted turf is in particular demand, especially in the winter, Allen said, when weekly training takes place at night and heavy rain often means the grass is unavailable for competition.

After the Sooke school district asked the city of Langford to commit to funding for a new lawn field at South Langford Elementary School, Langford said it was assessing the city’s recreational needs, adding that budget pressures and a smaller site size were planned. According to a memo sent to council by Langford CAO Darren Kiedyk, the school meant it was unable to fund the turf field.

Preliminary results of the assessment estimate that, based on estimates of population growth, the city’s farmland will meet the needs of the community by 2031, Kiedyk wrote.

“By 2031, they may find that things are very different in terms of the number of people living here, the expectations of the residents and what they’re looking for in sports and activities,” Allen said.

Without new venues and membership continues to grow, the quality of programming could suffer, Allen said, as teams could lose time slots as grass fields become unplayable during the winter. In the near future, finding field space for summer camp is proving to be a struggle, he added.

In the meantime, Allan says the club has found some creative solutions, such as the Timbits program for youngsters on grass – as they have less impact on grass – and allowing age groups to play during the sport’s off-season. Larger groups use the grass bowl court.

Allen praises Langford’s “far-sightedness” for many on-the-ground projects such as Center Mountain and the North Langford Elementary School site.

“We have to make sure that our residents can do things that are not just ‘go to work, come back to my house, go to work, come back to my house.'”

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