Vandals in Fairview have forcibly removed poles that had been previously installed at Queen Elizabeth Park as part of a planned $20,000 renovation undertaken by volunteers for Nelson Minor Baseball, escalating a feud that now includes a Facebook Group, a change.org online petition and a paper petition.
The poles were arranged in the grass to spell the word “NO”.
Residents of Fairview are expressing their displeasure at a planned baseball fence in the park, which would dissect an existing toboggan route.
The fence is part of an extensive $20,000 renovation of the park by Nelson Minor Baseball, which also includes new sod and shale that has been installed by volunteers.
The proposed fence will be four feet high, and is intended to keep the ball within the field during play.
“The idea was to keep the ball in the park. They’ve had people overthrowing first, foul balls seem to head out that way and they’ve had a couple of players injure themselves on that slope,” said Colin Innes, Nelson’s director of public works.
Innes said he hadn’t received any feedback on the park’s upgrades prior to Monday, but once he became aware of an online petition he contacted Nelson Minor Baseball immediately to investigate. He met with petition representatives on Wednesday and plans to meet with Nelson Minor Baseball very soon.
“Our idea is to sit down with both groups and figure out what we think is going to work, then we’ll bring them together. I’m certain we can find a solution,” he said.
The residents unhappy with the fence have named themselves The Friends of the Toboggan, Queen Elizabeth Park chapter. Innes said the group has been respectful and collaborative. One of the proposed solutions is installing a removable, seasonal fence.
“Then we could take that section out for the winter season,” said Innes, noting that Nelson Minor Baseball has expressed their full cooperation.
“A representative indicated no problem, they’ll stop fence construction right away,” Innes said. The volunteers involved in the construction said they hope to come up with a solution that can please everyone in the community.
“When I phoned to let them know there were concerns, they had no problem with saying ‘let’s figure it out’. They’re very approachable.”