Playing Rugby on a bed of glass grass

20th January 2010

Quite possibly another World First right here in Nelson, the town where the first official game of Rugby was played in New Zealand.

Aiming to be ready well in advance of  the coming 2011 Rugby World Cup matches in Nelson, the Nelson City Council is embarking on a multi-million dollar upgrade of our main central city sporting ground, Trafalgar Park.

As part of Nelsons’ City Council’s commitment to RWC 2011, and budgeted at just under $6m, the world first part is in regards to use of recycled glass as an underpinning for the turf.

The underlying drainage system being utilized is a NZ, and quite possibly world, first.

Multi-sport parks these days have to ready for action in any sort of weather, so with this in mind the local Council scouted, then sourced from Christchurch what at first appears to be an artificial substrate.

However once it all boils down to it, sand is the main component of glass anyway.

In commenting on the approximately 2,800 tonnes of the stuff to be trucked (remember we have no railway line – although maybe a barge could’ve done the task) from Christchurch to Nelson, the council said

Recycled glass sand is an environmentally sustainable material because it is readily available and it doesn’t take away from existing natural resources of sand that are in limited supply. The amount used for the Trafalgar Park carpet turf equals approximately 7% of the glass recycled annually in the South Island

Just after dumping the first load of recycled glass at Trafalgar Park Monday, Nelson Mayor, Kerry Marshall said…

I’m thrilled that Nelson is the first in New Zealand to use a recycled glass sand turf. I hope we’ve set an example about good, sustainable practice, but really it’s just the smart thing to do. Trafalgar Park will be an exceptional facility in many ways after this upgrade, but it’ll be leading the country with its terrific new turf.

In an earlier article, councils senior project manager Shane Davies told the Nelson Mail;

“that workers were laying New Zealand’s first winter pitch with glass sand. Grass will grow through the sand and allow for drainage and irrigation.

If there is a really heavy downpour the sand stores the water away from the top and percolates through to the drainage system.” (The Nelson Mail, Friday 6 November 2009)

He said it could be manufactured to the exact grading required and each year, when a fresh top coat was applied to replenish lost sand, it could be manufactured to the exact grade of the existing sand.

If everything goes to schedule we’ll have a brand new ground come June/July 2010, certainly plenty of time according to the countdown clock at the councils site before the World Cup hits town, and a fabulous asset for Nelson all year round!

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