Nearly a dozen people were using the turf field at F.H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse on April 28. On April 23, Athletics Yukon and the Yukon Soccer Association issued a joint press release asking that residents respect the rules of the new recreation area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Residents asked to respect the rules of new track and field facility

“The turf does not restore itself like traditional grass fields”

It appears at least some are listening to the message coming from Athletics Yukon and the Yukon Soccer Association.

On April 23, the two organizations issued a joint press release asking that residents respect the rules of the new track and turf field being installed at F.H. Collins Secondary School.

Since then, it appears users are respecting physical distancing rules more and keeping their bikes off the artificial turf, Athletics Yukon president Kristen Johnson said in an April 28 emailed statement.

“We have also seen families walking the track, which is great to see people keeping active and following physical distancing,” she said.

Meanwhile, soccer association president Danny Macdonald noted in an email he hasn’t been monitoring it regularly, but has heard anecdotally that there’s fewer people using it. He noted though that may be more a reflection of the weather which hasn’t been as good for getting out.

“The biggest things we’re trying to cut down are the really problematic activities of dogs and bikes on the track and field, as well as liquids other than water and food debris,” Macdonald said.

In the April 23 press release, Johnston said while the track and field area aren’t officially closed, residents are discouraged from using the facilities with work still required, including adding the rubberized surface to the track. That’s expected to happen later in the season after the weather warms up.

Among the rules at the track and field are no bicycles on the surface and no dogs inside the fence; regulations in place to protet the surface of both the track and field.

“The turf does not restore itself like traditional grass fields and will quickly become unplayable if users ignore the restrictions on use,” Macdonald said. “The soccer community is excited for this new field and it would be frustrating if it is damaged by individuals ignoring the rules before it even is officially opened for play.”

He went on to explain on April 28 that for safety reasons the rubber pellet underlay needs to be level and at a certain thickness over concrete. “Debris like food/seeds or dog poop doesn’t get washed out easily like grass field that gets cut, so remains on the field mixed in with the pellets and is unsanitary,” he stated. “Other activities like bikes can move the pellets around, or can ‘kick’ them off the field, potentially causing long-term harm.”

Due to COVID-19, neither the Yukon Soccer Association or Athletics Yukon are hosting any sanctioned activities such as league play and formal athletic events.

The two organizations are following public health guidelines and the direction of their national organizations and it’s unclear when restrictions will be lifted.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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