Oak Bay High rugby pitch mired in red tape

New field untouched since school opened in 2015

The plush green grass of Oak Bay High’s newest field remains unblemished as it remains unused since the school opened in 2015.

The closure is due to the fact that the drainage at the field was, in the opinion of the district, deficient and did not meet the requirements of the project Statement of Requirements. Patches of green over the summer on a non-watered field illustrated the issue, says Mark Walsh, Secretary-Treasurer, School District No. 61.

“We immediately noted it wasn’t draining properly and at that point we started having discussions,” Walsh says. “Essentially we never agreed to take control of it because we weren’t satisfied with it.”

It hasn’t affected the Oak Bay High rugby program’s ability to play, though they’ve been forced to find alternative fields, he says. With the new pitch out of action, the field inside the track behind the school has seen a lot more action over the last two years.

“There’s an immediate impact on that field unfortunately,” Walsh said. It’s “not a high quality field” and was intended as a third option.

Physical education programs aren’t as impacted because of the second new field, the all-weather field adjacent to Cadboro Bay Road.

“In a way the all-weather field has alleviated some of the pressures because you can use it at any time,” Walsh said.

Since it isn’t in use, the district hasn’t addressed community access of the new rugby pitch.

While the drainage issue can be fixed, the cost is expected to be significant. The district and builder couldn’t come to an agreement on the fix, so the school district made a claim through its bonding agent.

“We have our submission in to our insurer at this point and we’re waiting to hear back from them,” Walsh said.

While they expect news in the next few weeks, work wouldn’t start in the winter. He expects a remediation wouldn’t begin until May 2018.



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