The City of Penticton's Parks and Recreation advisory committee has voted yes to a plan for new turf at the Sportsplex, despite a significantly higher price tag than when the idea was first floated.
The current turf has “passed its useful life,” according to Kelsey Johnson, city manager of recreation, at Monday's meeting of the committee.
It is the only indoor turf surface south of West Kelowna, so many groups use it from as far away as Osoyoos.
The project has been on the city's radar since 2019, when an initial cost estimate was conducted. $200,000 was allocated in general capital budget for 2022, based on those 2019 prices.
But now, with inflation, the cost to install artificial turf is more like $300,000 with a 12-15 year lifespan. A multi-sport court would cost $425,000 with a 20 year lifespan.
The recommendation from city staff, after months of consultation with stakeholders and analysis of their findings, is low-pile synthetic turf at the lower cost.
Staff spoke to community groups who use or would like to use the Sportsplex, like pickleball groups, indoor soccer as a legacy user, tennis and more, asking them to project their likely user base for the next three to five years.
"With the groups that we had engaged, their historical information is that they've had a pretty consistent membership, with the exception of pickleball which we understand is a growing sport. This was the best information that they could provide," Johnson explained, when asked why the projection wasn't longer, given the proposed lifespan of the new turf.
The committee, made up of civilians, voted to recommend council increase the general capital budget by $100,000 to move forward with the turf renovation.
Next steps will include the recommendation being brought to council on March 1, moving forward to March-April RFP period and installation in the summer.
Council will have final say on the committee’s recommendation at the March 1 meeting.