The official opening of a new artificial turf field inside the velodrome track at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre means a crosstown move for Westshore Rugby Football Club.
Westshore Velox RFC contributed $450,000 toward the field project, which was completed earlier this year. Formerly known as Velox rugby football club, Westshore RFC has a long and storied history on the local sports scene dating back to 1969.
Club president Mark Wyatt said it is great to finally see the field completed and the move made.
“It’s been a very complex process to get the funding and secure an agreement,” he said. “We’re very grateful to West Shore Parks and Recreation, as well as our previous landlord at the University of Victoria, who were very good to us regarding the move.”
Westshore Velox RFC will use the turf for training sessions, but will primarily utilize the grass field behind Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre for practice and game play.
West Shore Parks and Recreation Society administrator Linda Barnes said the club’s move, first announced in June 2014, is great news for the area.
“We’re happy to have them here,” she said. “It’s a bonus for the community as well, because other groups will be able to use the new field.”
The turf field will also be used by Victoria Field Lacrosse, the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association and West Shore Parks and Recreation programs. Those groups will also use new fields being built at Royal Bay secondary through a partnership with the Sooke School District.
While it will be a bit of a challenge moving to a different area, Wyatt said, the club believes they will be successful there. And many of the Velox men’s and women’s team players live on the West Shore.
The 83,000-square-foot turf field is composed of monofilament polyethylene blend fibres tufted into a polypropylene backing. A bottom layer of silica sand and cryogenic rubber make up the infill. The fibres replicate blades of grass, while the infill provides cushion.
Velox men’s and women’s club teams will begin play in their various leagues this fall.
The top men’s team will play in a four-team Island qualifying round, starting with a home game Sept. 19, that will determine which three teams move on to play in the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. Premier League schedule starting next January.
The Velox Valkyries are the defending B.C. premier women’s league champions and will also begin play this fall, while a Div. 2 program competes in a spring league. Velox fielded two teams in the Island Div. 1 men’s league last season.
– with files from Don Descoteau