Superior playing surfaces for new Westbury sports’ precinct

Superior playing surfaces for new Westbury sports’ precinct

Phase one of the Union Stadium’s upgrade has been completed in Westbury, Johannesburg, with a new multi-purpose field, a hockey/soccer combination field and two five-a-side soccer courts.

The first phase of the Union Stadium’s upgrade has been completed, bringing a new Turftech-installed multi-purpose field, hockey/soccer combination field and two five-a-side soccer courts to the community of Westbury, Johannesburg.

The R10 million upgrade by Johannesburg Development Agency on behalf of the City of Johannesburg is set to drastically improve the Westbury Precinct and to help attract private sector investment to the region just west of the CBD. The project area – which was previously a dump site – has been targeted to increase social cohesion with an emphasis on youth development in a community that experiences high levels of unemployment.

The Westbury Sports Precinct phase one was commissioned by the Department of Sports and Recreation, delivered through the developing agent Infrastructure Development Gauteng Province.

Insite Landscape Architects was under the IKG-Group (Indigo Kulani Group) with Turftech brought in to install a FIFA/FIH standard Artificial Turf for hockey and soccer as well as two multi-purpose courts for five-a-side soccer.

“We were approached by Insite Landscape Architects to assist with design and ultimately install an artificial multipurpose facility to accommodate hockey and soccer on the same surface,” says Phillip Prinsloo, sales manager at Turftech. “Because of the product’s low maintenance, enhanced aesthetic, multifunctional use and water conservation elements, Turftech was the chosen solution for the project which anticipates a lot of community interest in future.”

The 6 000m² allocated area will be used for multi-purpose spaces where children can play and mingle during the day. The Turftech team opted for the Rhino Turf VT32 product with Recticel Prefab Shock pad, all of which has FIH & FIFA approval as it meets the requirements of both sporting codes.

In an effort to enhance local soccer skills, Turftech was asked to install two five-a-side pitches which included a number of design aspects such as base, levels, drainage, fencing and paving. Turftech was also involved with the irrigation and planting of grass on the surrounds, as well as all landscaping installation.

Unlike traditional hard courts, the Turftech multi-sports’ facility does not have to be resurfaced every two to three years, as the new artificial surface only needs upgrading every eight to 10 years. It also allows communities to accommodate multiple sporting codes while saving on space.

Prinsloo says the site was not without its challenges: “There were many obstacles and the on-site work space was very confined with heavy rainfall during this time of year.”

Despite this, Turftech – under the guidance and control of the main contractor, TTK Projects – managed to procure the artificial turf 12 to 16 weeks before installation. All specialist work was done and equipment was ready by December 2018, with installation completed by early 2019 following some heavy rains.

Prinsloo says: “The brief was to empower the local community and focus on skills development which, of course, had its limitations. However, this really assisted with job creation within the community and was very rewarding for the team.”

Theo Bredell of Insite Landscape Architects, says: “Overall this was quite demanding and technically one of the most challenging projects of my career, but also possibly one of the most rewarding. It is always wonderful to work with a competent team and project consultants who persevere, a client who is patient and a contracting team that demonstrated great leadership and strength of character.”

The full upgrade will include the design and construction of two new soccer pitches, netball courts, volleyball courts and football fields. This is key to providing opportunities for social interaction and imperative in catering for different sporting codes such as soccer, hockey, cricket, volleyball and aerobics. These sporting codes will contribute to empowering and motivating young people to participate in sport, keeping healthy and improving their lifestyles.