The new ball fields at Centennial Park need more water than regular grass because they are freshly sown, and need to be kept alive. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

The new ball fields at Centennial Park need more water than regular grass because they are freshly sown, and need to be kept alive. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Watering new ballpark during drought raises concerns

Municipality says new grass has to be watered

Michael Compton wonders why municipal officials in Lake Cowichan are allowing the almost constant watering of the grass at the new Centennial Park ball fields during a drought.

Compton, who lives next to the new $1.5-million ball field complex that opened with great fanfare this spring, said the municipality is watering the ball fields on an ongoing basis seven days a week, even while the province has just announced a Level 3 drought warning for the area and asked the public to reduce their water use.

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“City hall knows there are watering restrictions on right now, but nothing is being done about it,” Compton said.

“Households in Lake Cowichan are restricted to 35 cubic metres of water a month year-round, and we have to pay if we use more than that. The grass on my property is dead and I’d like to water it, but I’m trying to follow the province’s instructions to conserve water, as well as keeping to within the municipality’s water limits. But why doesn’t the municipality have to follow the same rules?”

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest said the grass on the three-field facility is brand new and requires consistent watering to ensure it takes.

He said the town’s bylaws allow residents to water new lawns even during times of water restrictions.

“The watering of the ball park is controlled with timers which only allow for the watering of one zone at a time for 10 minutes, but I think Mr. Compton believes we water all of them all the time,” Forrest said.

“We’re certainly not over watering and, in fact, we’re under watering the new grass. The ball fields were a huge investment for this community and we don’t plan to lose it.”

Forrest said he’s a member of the Cowichan Watershed Board and understands the water issues that the region is facing.

“It is a fact that households in Lake Cowichan have to pay more if they use more than 35 cubic metres of water a month, but that’s about 1,000 litres of water per day, which is lots of water for most people.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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