New turf hosts first game action

The City of Nanaimo opened the playing surface and the John Barsby Bulldogs took care of the rest.

Coun. Diana Johnstone

Coun. Diana Johnstone

The City of Nanaimo opened the playing surface and the John Barsby Bulldogs took care of the rest.

The ’Dawgs defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 36-0 on Friday evening as part of the opening ceremonies of the new artificial turf surface at Beban Park’s Merle Logan Field.

“This field is a welcome new addition to our existing recreational facilities…” said Mayor John Ruttan. “This means more groups will have a home base at which to enjoy their sport.”

The second turf surface, a $1.8-million project, was immediately lauded as far superior to the adjacent turf, a harder surface.

“The carpet looks like the big, expensive part, but the real meat and potatoes of this kind of field is underneath,” said Richard Harding, director of parks and recreation.

The first turf surface at Beban opened in 2005, dedicated in memory of soccer board member and broadcaster Merle Logan.

“We got the groups back again to make sure we’re building it the way that users want,” Richard Harding said. “So we’ve worked with soccer, we’ve worked with the Nanaimo high school football teams, field lacrosse, field hockey and other sporting groups.”

All those sports associations have already booked the field, and it’s even been booked for a high school football playoff game Nov. 11.

“So they better make the playoffs,” Harding joked.

Ruttan concluded Friday’s opening with a ceremonial kickoff, but parks and rec chairwoman Coun. Diana Johnstone said it’s young people who will really get their kicks on the playing field.

“This type of field encourages more youth to be active and healthy,” she said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com