What began as a complaint about soccer balls landing in a Glen Drive yard, has ended with the city set to install a $7,500 six-foot fence on the west-side of the Lower Sunningdale field.
Earlier this year, property owners from the Sunningdale residence asked the City of Trail to take measures to prevent soccer balls from leaving the adjacent park during the youth league games.
The request is being granted after investigation through the city’s municipal insurers revealed the potential for a liability issue, confirmed David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer, during Monday’s governance meeting. “Not withstanding the individual property owners perspective but looking at it as a greater community perspective to mitigate impacts from balls being shot on the road, it is in the best interest of the community to proceed.”
Perehudoff said a notice was sent to 23 residents in the immediate area of the park about the proposed 250-foot long green mesh fence. Of the six respondents, five were against, citing a fence as an unsightly and unnecessary action. The original complainant stood firm and replied “for” the barrier.
Coun. Carol Dobie questioned if the homeowner had taken any action to alleviate balls from entering the property.
The responsibility is up to the owner of the facility, in this case the city, replied Coun. Sandy Santori, committee chair. “I don’t think it is incumbent on taxpayer to put up fence to accommodate any public facility,” he added.
Santori explained the homeowner’s objective is now irrelevant. “It’s changed,” he said. “We could have an ugly lawsuit if a kid gets run over by a car and our insurer saw that all our parks have fences for safety, and we consciously made an effort not to have one in this particular place.”
The city’s cost of the fence is offset by a $4,900 risk management grant from its insurers, and could be further minimized by a potential $2,600 Columbia Basin Trust grant to the youth soccer association.
“While this came from an odd place, we’ve done our due diligence and now we have to deal with it,” concluded Coun. Kevin Jolly.