North Village soon to be shining bright after approval granted for $870,000 in funding
The issue of fading sunlight at Bernard Park, which reared its head in the Friendship Trophy quarter-final on Sunday, will soon be a thing of the past.
After receiving approval for $870,000 worth of funding, North Village will take possession of a shipment of sports light towers and stadium lights in January with the aim of being to host night football matches during the 2023-24 football season.
The lights will also allow the Pembroke club to save on electricity costs with the infrastructure set to utilise Light Emittting Diodes (LEDs), which require less energy to function at high levels of illumination.
“We just received information last week from the Bermuda Football Association that we’ve been approved to receive $870,000, whereby we’ll be having lights put up at this field for next season,” revealed club president Shervin Dill.
“I’ve just been advised that they will be shipped from China on December 15. They will be in Bermuda on January 18 and we’ll start work on April 1, so we’ll have fully-fledged lighting for next season.
“This will be the first lighting of its kind in Bermuda. They will be LED lights, making it far less expensive for us to operate and it’s going to provide another night facility in Bermuda.”
PHC debuted a new set of lights earlier this season and North Village would become the sixth venue capable of hosting night fixture alongside Somerset Cricket Club, Devonshire Recreation Club, Goose Gosling field and the Dame Flora Duffy Stadium , while Western Stars are also slated to have lights as part of their ongoing reconstruction.
Dill said that the lighting will likely be geared to illuminate adjacent fields at Dellwood School and Dutton Avenue to the east to allow the areas to be used for evening training sessions.
The ability to further use the Dellwood and Dutton Avenue pitches will allow for the preservation of the main field, which has suffered from overuse after catering for training and top-flight matches.
Dill is also considering the option of installing an artificial surface at the training grounds to offer a durable, low-maintenance option to benefit both club and school.
“We’ve established a relationship with Dellwood over the years whereby we share facilities,” said Dill. “This year we have more or less adopted Dellwood as our community school.
“We have several of our youth players attending the school, so it was natural and convenient for us to grow our relationship. It’s a win, win situation. We allow them to use our field for all of their home matches and they allow us to use their gymnasium on days when it’s not so good for training on our grounds, so it saves our facility.
“They have a nice netball, basketball court over there that we look to use as well.
“As I said, it’s really a win, win for us to be able to help each other and we’re taking the concept even further with regard to taking our groundspeople and approaching government about developing the field on the Dellwood side and the Dutton Avenue side to be able to be used as home pitches, and be able to better preserve our main pitch.”
Additionally, plots to the west harbouring several invasive species of trees, as well as the abandoned former health centre could provide further avenue for expansion in the mind of the forward-thinking Dill, who has helped guide the Pembroke club from training on borrowed pitches with makeshift lighting affixed to swaying trees to having a permanent place to call home and one of the leading youth sport development programmes in Bermuda.
Said Dill: “We have plenty of land to the west and we will be approaching the government about being able to develop that area with a netball court and maybe a park for children to have a playground.