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LETTER: Slo-pitch group frustrated over fields

From Lauren Penfound

On May 8, parks and rec supervisor Craig Stanley sent an email to all field users indicating that restrictive rules related to COVID-19 were being lessened by the province and within a week there would be information available with respect to allowing recreational sports to return to city fields.

To date, there have been no developments on this front, save the city putting their considerable effort in to redefining what “casual user” means. What it means is that while ViaSport, hired by the B.C. government, has created guidelines for safe return to sport, the City of Nelson is continuing to drag its heels on greenlighting the return to play for Nelson Slo Pitch. Instead of collaborating with our organization, the parks department has continued to throw hurdles and dangle non-existent timelines to our organization.

This week, Nakusp and Osooyos both saw players return to their fields to engage in healthy, non-contact, physically distant sport. Meanwhile, the City of Nelson has put its head down and insisted on reinventing the wheel, instead of relying on the information and guidelines approved by the province for a return to sport. Further, the city parks department has reiterated the penalties it is willing to levy against any user group that chooses to exercise caution and common sense on their fields.

Not only is the city doing a disservice to the nearly 300 players anxious to get active, it is also passing on the roughly $14,000 our organization pays in field use fees.

Perhaps the worst part of this is that despite our organization’s attempts to work with the city, we once again find ourselves being treated as their adversaries.

Sadly, this is yet another entry in the city’s diary of restrictions on the use of their fields. We all remember the city denying minor baseball the use of Lions Park in 2017, an issue we were assured would not be repeated with this new mayor and council. Well, mayor and council, I speak directly to you as this issue is once again rearing its head, and ask what are you going to do about it?

Lauren Penfound

President, Nelson Mixed Slo Pitch