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City council decides to avoid the pitch on minor ball requests

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
June 9th, 2017

A minor baseball request has fallen short of the strike zone with the city as it tries to field growing numbers of young ball players on a limited number of fields.

Nelson baseball has grown in interest over the last several years with the association sporting nine teams from ages four to15 years old, but it only has two playing fields to accommodate the league in the city: Lion’s Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. 

“A standard basic little league of our size requires 200 to 240 hours of playtime for adequate immersion in this sport,” read a Nelson Baseball Association (NBA) letter to council. 

“A (current) 100-hour limit at Lion’s Park would require us to either cut the number of teams, and disappoint eager young baseball players in the city already enrolled, or cancel the season altogether.”

It was believed by increasing the number of hours available for the NBA at Lion’s Park, both options would be avoided.

At the committee-of-the-whole meeting held on May 24, the NBA requested the city change the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the NBA and the city in 2011 to allow an increased number of hours at Lion’s Park from 100 to 200 hours.

The NBA also asked for an increase to the age limit for tournaments at the park from 10 years of age to 12 years of age, and the removal of the requirement that the NBA be responsible for maintenance of the diamond.

But the city refused, opting instead to work with the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) staff and the NBA to reduce the number of hours requested at Lion’s Park by rescheduling them to either Queen Elizabeth Park or Lakeside Park playing fields for the balance of the 2017 season.

City staff had reviewed the hours booked at Lion’s Park for the month of June with the NDCC staff and determined that, for many of the bookings, there was alternate space available at either Lakeside Park or Queen Elizabeth Park.

As well, city council did not approve the request by the Nelson Baseball Association to increase the age limit for baseball tournaments at Lions Park to 12 years of age, noting that the field size was too small for the older players.

However, the city did approve the request by the Nelson Baseball Association to have staff provide all maintenance at Lion’s Park, including baseball diamond maintenance.

In addition, the city will develop a Park Use Policy for Lion’s Park in advance of the 2018 season that will provide for balanced use of the community park.

Since the time of the presentation in May the following has occurred:

  • parks staff has completed work at Queen Elizabeth (QE) Park to install temporary 60-foot baselines (requirement for minor baseball participants);
  • permanent changes for minor baseball requirements will be made in the fall of 2017 at QE Park;
  • parks and Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) booking staff provided information to NBA about availability at QE park as well as Lakeside Park playing fields;
  • NBA has booked 243.7 hours at QE (this number was significantly less prior to the May presentation);
  • NBA has reduced their hours at Lion’s Park to 176 hours (this was significantly higher at the time of the presentation); and
  • NBA booked Lakeside and QE Park playing fields for their major tournament on the weekend of June 16.

Categories: General

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