Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023

Viewpoint: Plastic grass odd choice


The first time I heard about the idea of plastic turf on the BC Hydro field on Salt Spring I thought it was very odd and gave it very little thought. I have been caught by April Fools’ Day pranks before and I checked the date of the article to make sure. 

Plastic grass on Salt Spring? Do we not claim to be a generally environmentalist population here? The reasons for the new turf: summer water shortages and die off, and generally not being able to use the fields as is desired for soccer and other sports . . . so let’s get plastic grass.

At first I thought, “No worries, it will never fly.” Now I see that in fact it may fly and it may be moved to the GISS field. Yahoo! Plastic grass at the high school! Solar panels on the roof and plastic grass on the field. Quite conflicting attitudes. Now there are even more reasons to have it as it will also save the strapped school district money to not maintain the field. The district might not have to pay for the installation and there is almost no maintenance.

During this era of climate change and intense concern, resorting to plastic grass seems weird to me. Now more than ever we need to be facing the environment as it is right in front of us and acting accordingly.

Deciding to side-step nature for our human demand of uninterrupted use of nature is a large part of our problem today. We are faced with a new challenge to be good stewards of our planet’s skin on the ground, in the water and in the air.

I am not a soccer player and confess that I may be out to lunch here with this opinion. I am open to new understandings that would make me happy about the idea. I also appreciate the time and energy put into this idea by the people who are working on it, but I cannot help speaking out on this one. Somehow it feels fundamentally wrong.

The cost to install the artificial turf is being estimated at $2.5 million. Surely for $2.5 million we could install a massive rainwater harvesting system on the high school and bury an enormous underground water storage tank to connect to the existing irrigation system and have green, growing, living grass all year. It would be an awesome addition to the solar panels on the roof and a fantastic advantage of water supply for fire suppression if it was needed for that purpose.

I do not really know the dimensions of the roof of the school, but it may be close to the size of the field. With an average rainfall of one metre, one inch per week could easily be used for irrigation for 30 weeks of the year.

Mowing . . . yes.

Maybe we can consider this option as well as the plastic grass option. Breathing, living grass.


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