Artificial Turf Field

Artificial Turf Field

The Town of Qualicum Beach has submitted a grant application to replace the west half of the upper playing fields in the Community Park with an all-season turf surface, creating two full-sized turf soccer pitches that can be used year-round with minimal down-time. Here are some frequently asked questions about the project and artificial turf fields in general: FAQ Display

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Qualicum Beach installing an artificial turf field?

The Town of Qualicum Beach submitted a grant application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program - Community, Culture and Recreation Program toward the Community Park All-Season Field Upgrade project. This project would replace the west half of the upper playing fields in the Community Park with an all-season turf surface, creating two full-sized turf soccer pitches. The estimated cost of the project is $4,400,763.36; the grant funding request is for $3,169,735.71, which would leave the Town responsible for $1,173,683.59. Fundraising with local sporting groups will help offset the costs to the Town, as well.

Proposed Turf Upgrade

What is synthetic turf?

Synthetic turf is a grass-like ground cover that replicates natural grass in appearance and function. When used on athletic fields, it provides a consistent year-round, all-weather playing surface built to withstand extended use without downtime for recovery.

How is synthetic turf made?

Most synthetic turf systems installed today include a drainage layer, a multi-layered backing system, and resilient "grass" blades that are infilled with a granular filler to resemble natural turf. "Infilled" means that the man-made grass blades are interspersed with a top soil created with sand and/or granulated recycled tire rubber or other infill materials that provide the necessary stability, uniformity, and resiliency. Each blade customarily stands above the infill material. The typical blade length and system characteristics are determined by the specific activity requirements. In some applications, the synthetic turf system includes a pad or elastic layer underneath the turf, often in combination with lower pile height and less infill. Turf Crossection

How does synthetic turf impact the environment?

In terms of water usage, synthetic turf has a measurable, positive impact on the environment. A typical grass sports field requires between 500,000 to a million gallons of water or more each year.

Synthetic turf eliminates the need for pesticides and fertilizers, which has significant health and environmental implications. In addition, synthetic turf reduces noxious emissions by not requiring frequent mowing (e.g. emissions from push mowers/riding mowers).

The Town continues to consider the environmental benefits and drawbacks of the project, including the potential to release microplastics into the environment, and will consider all factors when deciding which materials will be used for the field.

What impact does synthetic turf have on playing time?

Synthetic turf playing fields exponentially increase playing and practice time because they can be used daily and in all types of weather, without worry of damage. Playability is enhanced since the fields remain uniform and consistent, season after season. They can also be used within hours of installation. In addition, because natural fields need time to “rest” to repair damage and allow for growth, natural fields can be used for about 20 – 24 hours per week, or 680 – 816 hours per year for a three-season window. Synthetic turf can be utilized around 3,000 hours per year with no "rest” required.

How long does synthetic turf last?

Synthetic turf sports fields are typically warranted for eight years, but their life expectancy will depend to a great extent on the amount and type of usage and the maintenance it receives. Vancouver has artificial turf fields that have not needed replacement for more than 10 years. Additionally, once installed, the base layer can be reused for up to 30 years, making replacement costs significantly cheaper than the initial investment.

What is the cost of a synthetic field compared to a natural turf field?

A synthetic turf field usually has a higher upfront cost, but the field often pays for itself over its lifetime. Synthetic turf fields can be utilized for about 3,000 hours of play per year, with no "rest” required, the equivalent of three to four well-maintained natural turf fields. In addition, synthetic turf maintenance costs are two to three times less than natural turf, since no mowing, irrigation or chemicals are needed. Because of its consistent availability, a synthetic turf field is also a reliable source of rental revenue.

What happens to the turf materials at the end of the field’s lifetime?

The materials used in artificial turf are recyclable. At the end of the turf’s useful life, the layers can be separated out and recycled.

Are there toxic substances in artificial turf that I should be concerned about?

There have been many studies conducted on health impacts from artificial turf fields. The National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health has compiled a table of Human Health Risk Assessments; the report can be found here: Human Health Risk Assessments Addressing Artificial Turf and Crumb Rubber

Findings from those assessments indicate increased cancer risk to humans to be negligible, and that the highest risk was found in users ingesting crumb rubber repeatedly over long periods of time (e.g. a child consuming 0.1g of rubber per day, 4 days per week, for 8 months).

A test result from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services determined that an average 7-year old child would have to consume 100 lbs of synthetic turf infill to be at risk of absorbing enough lead to equal the minimum threshold of elevated blood lead.

What does Island Health have to say about health implications from artificial turf fields?

In 2015, Island Health completed a human health risk assessment of synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber infill. The conclusion of the report noted “given the current available evidence it is concluded that the existing information does not suggest that synthetic turf fields have a substantive independent effect on human health.”

You can read the full report here: The Health Implications of Synthetic Turf Fields with Crumb Rubber Infill

What is crumb rubber?

Crumb rubber is derived from scrap car and truck tires that are ground up and recycled. The steel and fiber tire components are removed during the process and the rubber pellets are sorted by size. Each year, over 30 million used auto and truck tires are used to produce the crumb rubber infill for synthetic turf fields.

How does crumb rubber impact the environment?

Crumb rubber infill used in synthetic turf playing fields diverts used car and truck tires from landfills, conserves water by reducing the need to irrigate, and avoids the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Will the Town be using crumb rubber as the infill material for the artificial turf field?

The Town is in the preliminary stages of planning for the artificial turf field. A grant application has been submitted to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program - Community, Culture and Recreation Program to help cover the costs of the project. Should the grant be approved, the Town will work with the Regional District of Nanaimo on detailed plans for the field, including infill materials.

What other infill options are available?

Other infill materials include silica sand, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), and other organic infills.

How can I provide feedback?

We're glad you asked!

You can give us a call, send us a letter, e-mail, or fax:
P: 250-752-6921
F: 250-752-1243

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