It’s game on for the Nelson Baseball Association after plenty of back and forth with city council over upgrades to Lions Park.
After a month of council meetings, working with city staff and a presentation at an October committee of the whole meeting, the association received the go-ahead to move forward with its plan for the Uphill park.
“I’m feeling pleased,” said Corbin Comishin of the Nelson Baseball Association. “The kids will finally have a place to play some ball now that the process has gone through the chain of action that it’s had to go through. Everything worked out and I think in great favour for the community and the kids.”
The proposal for the upgrades was introduced during the October 11 council meeting.
That meeting became heated due to some city councillors feeling blindsided by the proposal.
“It would have been great if we would have seen [the proposal] earlier,” said councillor Deb Kozak after this Monday’s council meeting. “I understand that the plans were in place with the Lions Club in December 2010. Council did not see or hear any of that until October 2011. It would have been really good to have those thoughts come forward.”
When the proposal was first introduced Kozak recommended that the plan be sent to the recreation commission for review and recommendation.
“I’m glad that council had the opportunity to come into an agreement with the Lions Park and to have rules set out about the usage, who will be maintaining the ball diamond and how that’s going to work, so I’m feeling positive about moving forward with this and I support the decision of council,” said Kozak.
According to the memorandum of understanding between the Nelson Baseball Association and the city, the upgraded baseball diamonds will be used for games and practices for children 10 and under, and will be used for practices only for children up to 12 years old.
The agreement also highlights that the association will be responsible for the regular and ongoing maintenance of the diamond and that it will be performed to the satisfaction of the city’s director of engineering and operations.
One change made to the agreement was around the number of hours the association can use the park.
The agreement said the park may be booked by the association on a maximum limit of 130 hours over a 10 week period per scheduled season.
Councillor Kim Charlesworth found the 130 hours contradicted what was discussed at last month’s committee of the whole meeting.
Councillor Donna Macdonald agreed with Charlesworth and said the city is working to achieve a compromise that will work best for all users.
“We’re trying to find a compromise here and we heard from the neighbours and it’s not as much user groups as it is neighbours who want to go into the park and play. We need to balance their needs with the needs of the ball players,” said Macdonald.
The hours were changed to a total of 100 hours per season over a 10 week period.
Comishin said with the snow that fell on Monday, work on the park may be delayed until the spring.
“Maybe they’ll start to do some tree removal and get some land preparation done up there, but I think most of the facilities will come over the course of the spring,” he said.
The upgrades include a new backstop, dugouts, irrigation, extension to the storage shed and an enhanced infield surface.