Maurice Pelletier, an Open Space Operations Team Lead with the City of Edmonton, demonstrates how a new electric lawn mower works at a City of Edmonton news conference on the status of sports fields at Coronation Park in Edmonton, on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia
Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak / Ian Kucerak/Postmedia
Edmonton’s harsh winter’s end was at least gentle on city sports fields, set to open Monday.A team of over 350 staffers are working for the next few weeks to ensure all the Edmonton’s 1,600 fields are up to snuff, the city announced Thursday.“This year was critical but we had a fair amount of snow on top which created insulation for turf so there’s not too much damage compared to other years,” said Olivier Le Tynevez-Dobel, supervisor of city turf and sports fields, at the media event in Coronation Park.“If you look at the field right now, it’s greener than last year and there’s way less damage on the grass.”
Olivier Le Tynevez-Dobel with the City of Edmonton speaks about the status of sports fields. Photo by Ian Kucerak/Postmedia
Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak /
The bulk of Edmonton field time is dedicated to soccer, baseball, softball and slo-pitch but cricket continues to gain more traction as does pickleball and the broom-and-ball sport of quidditch, of Harry Potter fame.To keep premier fields pristine and dandelion-free, the city will apply iron-chelate herbicide to about 60 per cent of them.And as the city works to become more emission-free, it’s introducing “Sam,” a solar assisted electric mower that eliminates fuel issues like spillage and is quieter that typical equipment.Sam — which runs on three large batteries, no fuel, no oils — is part of a pilot project that could eventually lead to long-term cost savings, Le Tynevez-Dobel.“There is quite a bit of risk mitigation by utilizing electric equipment,” he said.Sam takes about 11 hours to charge and has about an eight-hour run time. The mower is worth between $25,000 and $30,000, said Le Tynevez-Dobel, similar in cost to current mowers.The pilot with Sam will determine how durable the equipment is and determine expansion to larger machines.