Artificial turf recommended for Commonwealth
The Edmonton Eskimos are in favour of eliminating the grass at Commonwealth Stadium and replacing it with artificial turf.
The team says the stadium is currently undergoing some transformations already, so the timing would be perfect to make a few more changes. But the pricetag to tear out the grass and put in field turf doesn't come cheap at $2.6 million.
"While the grass has been here since the stadium open in 1978, its time has come. Having an artificial surface provides a more consistent playing surface for the Edmonton Eskimos," said Dave Jamieson, spokesperson for the Edmonton Eskimos.
The team says the turf would lower maintenance costs, and doesn't require water or fertilizer. The plan is to split the $2.6 million cost with the city.
"I think it would deliver the right product in an effective manner -- so, I think there is definitely saving in operating costs," said Mayor Stephen Mandel.
But not everyone is on board with the plan.
"It's going to look good all year round, but it still doesn't have the feel of natural grass -- I think the natural grass would be a better option," said Eskimo fan Igor Pospeshin.
The CFL issued a statement on the matter saying, "The Eskimos have advised us that a switch to the modern version of artificial turf will provide a consistent, safe surface for them and their opponents. We support and, of course, trust the Eskimos in this regard."
Jamieson says the team hasn't received any pressure from the CFL to make the change. He admits an upcoming Grey Cup plays a factor in the decision.
The Edmonton Eskimos will take the idea to city council Wednesday. They say they need to move quickly to ensure the conversion to field turf is ready for the start of this year's season.
Currently, Commonwealth Stadium is the only facility in the CFL with natural grass.
With files from Dez Melenka