VICTORIA -- The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) is planning to replace an artificial turf field at Oak Bay High that was found to be “shedding artificial grass blades” into the community.

Concerns over the field first emerged in 2019 after there were reports of the artificial grass making its way into the local environment.

Now, SD61 says it plans to remove the current field and replace it with a new artificial turf field alongside new filters and a wrap-around perimeter to catch debris.

The current field will be removed in strips that will be rolled up before transportation to prevent shedding. The rolled-up strips will then be moved off of the field through a section of fencing that has been removed to make sure that the turf avoids the Bowker Creek area, where some of the grass blades were previously found.

The new turf will then be installed in sections and fused together once it has all been laid out. Meanwhile, SD61 says that the new turf field will be filled with recycled infill from the current artificial field.

According to the Bays United Football Club, one of the main users of the field, the turf supplier will provide the new artificial field strips through the surface’s warranty.

Replacement of the field is estimated to begin on July 15 and will take roughly four weeks to complete, depending on the weather.

“We are very excited to have this turf replaced and look forward to seeing it utilized by our community again,” said SD61 board chair Jordan Watters in a release Tuesday.

“Weather permitting, we are hopeful to have this field open for use come mid-August.”

The original artificial field was installed in 2016.