News Local

North Van soccer players booted

By Ada Slivinski, 24 Hours Vancouver

Soccer season in North Vancouver ends in April. (FILE PHOTO)

Soccer season in North Vancouver ends in April. (FILE PHOTO)

Casual soccer players in North Vancouver are having trouble finding fields for their pickup games, and some have even been kicked off by city staff, as fields are closed for summer reseeding and maintenance.

“We were playing and one of the city workers came up to us and said we weren’t supposed to be on the field, that we needed a permit and he just told us to leave the field or else he was going to call other authorities,” said Jeremy Keong, who organizes casual games.

The North Vancouver Recreation and Culture website advises, “If you see someone playing on a grass field during a closure, do not approach them on your own. Take note of some details (like date, time, field, colour of uniforms, age of group members, license plates, types of car, etc.) and contact the RCMP non-emergency number.”

North Vancouver RCMP Spokesperson Cpl Richard De Jong said he was surprised to hear their number was listed. He said he didn’t think it is a police matter but might remove players from the field if they were being destructive.

The District of North Vancouver has 41 soccer fields. During the summer months, 34 of those are listed as “closed for soccer.” Even some that are supposedly “Open,” such as Norseman Park, have large areas sectioned off for reseeding.

Soccer season in the Vancouver area goes from September until April. That means players who would like to use the fields in the summer cannot. In North Vancouver 20 per cent of property taxes, or $12,340,000, goes towards Parks, Recreation and Culture. Keong and his friends say they are frustrated that they aren’t able to use space they are paying for.

Michael Hunter, manager of Parks and Environment for the City of North Vancouver said the city’s focus is keeping fields in top shape for the soccer season and they need the summer months to recover from the wear and tear of cleats. “Our goal is to provide the most access we can with the best quality fields,” he said.


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