Scars ground into the green of the Blue Heron Park soccer fields will likely not heal before spring.
“We had a great crew of volunteers come out and do some sand work,” says Robert Hope, gesturing to the ‘donuts’ dug into various parts of the fields.
Hope is secretary for Peninsula Soccer Association, the youth sports group that maintains the fields off McDonald Park Road in North Saanich. The association leases the property from the Memorial Park Society on a long-term basis and invests a significant amount of time and cash — $30,000 to $40,000 a year — to keep the fields ready for play, Hope says.
“This is probably about $15,000 in damage … it won’t recover now until the next growing season.”
Sometime between 10 p.m. on Nov. 10 and Hope’s arrival Friday at 7 a.m. — he was there to check on construction of the adjacent clubhouse — a vehicle was driven onto the sand-based fields and ripped them up, leaving behind numerous tell-tale circular scars.
“I just happened to look out here and I thought there was a flock of birds on the field, but actually it was tufts of dirt,” Hope says, looking down at the now-sand filled circles at his feet.
“It’s unfortunate, a lot of people put a lot of effort into these fields. It’s discouraging.”
Sidney North Saanich RCMP are investigating what looks to be a random act of vandalism.
“The vehicle is believed to be a pickup truck or an SUV that has an aggressive tire tread,” said Cpl. Chris Swain.
Anyone with information should call the RCMP at 250-656-3931 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) and quote file number 2011-6037.
Between the damage and the weather, games were limited Saturday, but the club is determined to move forward.
The call went out last Friday morning for volunteers to fill the ruts with sand. They finished that afternoon.