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Three sports fields at Willow Point Park will be lighted

Campbell River councillors have decided to go all in on lighting the three sports fields at Willow Point Park.

City council agreed recently to light the two baseball/slo-pitch fields as well as the rugby/soccer pitch.

The lighting move was made after Campbell River Minor Baseball asked last year to be moved from Nunns Creek Park over safety concerns, with trash and needles found at the site.

When discussing the options, many on council felt it was better to do all the fields the first time, even though there was not enough money in the budget to cover it.

“Do it and do it right and it’s always cheaper to do it right the first time through than to go back and try and add,” Coun. Charlie Cornfield said.

In addition to the $300,000 in the budget, the city will use $174,000 in the parks reserve and a further $323,000 from its general reserves, based on the suggestion of Chief Financial Officer Alaina Maher, even though she said there are “financial pressures on our reserves.”

Council heard from staff that it would actually save money through economies of scale by buying all the lighting poles at once and the wiring work is one cohesive unit.

The decision was deferred early last month after concerns that the cost to light the fields was approaching $1 million.

Operations Director Drew Hadfield said tendering and ordering the lighting poles will take at least 12 weeks and the system won’t be installed until sometime this fall.

As for the existing lighting at Nunns Creek Park, it will taken down “in the near future” because it was at the end of its life and was supposed to be replaced. The replacement was put on hold pending the completion of the Nunns Creek Park Master Plan and before the lighting issue at Willow Creek Park came into play.

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