The Nelson Baseball Association was back up to bat on Monday night at the city’s committee of the whole meeting as they made a formal presentation for the upgrades of the baseball diamond at Lions Park.
The presentation came after heated debate emerged at the October 11 council meeting around the future of the proposal.
“We know spring isn’t the time to do this because the field is being used,” said Corbin Comishin who made the presentation with Larry Martel on behalf of the association.
“We’ve been waiting, sitting on our hands until fall came.”
Comishin said the association, the Lions, city staff and others thought the proposal was going to go forward after the plan was originally pitched in 2010.
“Councillor Deb Kozak said that she said she hadn’t heard anything about the proposal. We came forward immediately because we didn’t want to blindside anyone,” said Comishin.
“It slipped through the crack somehow. We don’t know how, we’re not blaming anyone. We don’t want this project held back for another year.”
But during comments from councillor Robin Cherbo and the public, it appeared communication with neighbours surrounding the park slipped through the cracks as well.
Cherbo said he visited the neighbourhood and knocked on a few doors and discovered several people hadn’t heard of the association’s plans for Lions Park.
Even though some members of the public expressed concerns around parking, safety to other park users and exclusive use of the park by baseball players, most were upset they hadn’t been included in the process from the beginning.
“I’m against this proposal for a lot of reasons,” said Mike Morrison, a concerned neighbour of the park. “I was not too pleased with the process. I had no idea that this was going on.
“I don’t think this proposal can be considered without taking something away. This is the only park for Uphill. For every kid that is thrilled to use the field for baseball there is a kid who won’t be able to do what they want to do. Even though it’s only 10 hours a week it’s too much exclusive use for baseball folks.”
During the meeting the association clarified their plan.
Currently there is a baseball diamond at Lions Park where players 10 and under practice for six hours a week.
But the association said the diamond is unfit for use for games.
The construction plans include: a new backstop and foul line fencing, enclosed dugout benches, new infield grass with crushed brick base paths and pitcher’s mound, irrigation for the grass, an extension to the splash park shed for equipment storage and tree removal
Councillor Bob Adams asked what the cost of the project would be for the city. Martel said the only cost would be tree removal.
Mayor John Dooley asked that council pass a recommendation that the proposal be referred to city staff.
Councillor Donna Macdonald added an amendment to the recommendation that hours of operation be looked at for the park.
Councillor Deb Kozak who was not present at Monday’s meeting, met with the association last week as part of the recreation commission along with Dooley and Stacey.