Campbell River baseball diamonds plagued by flooding, homelessness

I would like to give you a story that I hope you will take as far as you possibly can for the sake of “The Kids.”

I have been involved with the Campbell River Minor Baseball Association for about 10 years now. In this time I have volunteered my time as division management positions, coaching many years, and various other duties. I have loved every minute of it over the years, watching, not only my own children, but many other children become excellent baseball players, and most importantly watch these kids not only love the game of baseball, but have tonnes of fun doing it!

I would like to remind you that this is a completely not-for-profit organization that not one person involved, no matter whether you an executive committee member, a coach, or any other integral part of this organization, no one gets paid for their time, they are all volunteers. All of these people involved are in it for one reason, and one reason only – for the kids! Many people, so many people, volunteer endless hours into this organization for the kids of this beautiful city.

So now you are wondering, I am sure, where’s the story?

This is the story that angers me but, most of all, breaks my heart. Why? Because of “The kids.”

The CRMBA pays user fees to the city of Campbell River for the use of fields at Nunns Creek Park. I don’t know how much exactly, but I do know they have doubled, which is too much as far as I am concerned for the condition of those fields.

These fields right now, are basically not usable, why? Because the city is failing to listen to anyone regarding the status of these fields. Our baseball season should have started April 8. As of the week of April 17, CRMBA is finally starting their season with most divisions playing. The delays were largely due to the fact that the fields are essentially not usable due to them basically being flooded. These fields are a constant problem whenever it rains and especially with high tide times.

Not only do we deal with the fact that these fields are just too wet, but we also deal with the homelessness all around the field. If a ball is thrown or hit into any of the bushes, don’t dare send a kid in there to get it. We are also dealing every Saturday or Sunday morning, especially, with homeless people in our dugouts. Coaches have to check the fields all the time for used needles. The playground and toilets are equally unsafe, there have been several incidences of young children finding needles in the bathrooms and in the sand at the playground. This is just not acceptable, not now, not anytime.

So what is concerning me most about all this, is who is paying for all of this? The kids! The kids are playing ball right now, but started late this season because the fields are essentially under water. Oh ya, and guess who the parents are coming to when they see that the baseball season will be shorter? They are coming back to the association. The association deals with several complaints each season over the state of the fields, unsafe situations, etc. from family members of the players. For your facts, I am no longer involved on the executive for the Campbell River Baseball Association, haven’t been for some years now. But I tell you, when I was more involved I wanted to go public with this then, but no one wanted to ruffle the feathers of the city for some reason. That is the association’s choice, I supported that decision. I am now just a parent that helps out wherever I can, but I am concerned for the future of Campbell River Minor Baseball’s kids.

I can’t stress enough, I am writing this letter for the interest and well being of the kids. I see many other Associations in this town getting a lot more support from the City of Campbell River, having new all season fields built, having as much field time in other fields as they want to play adult baseball etc., etc., etc. Its time for me to “Ruffle the feathers” and get this stuff out in the open, and maybe me doing this, more parents will speak up. Having these ball fields where they are at Nunns Creek Park is now the worse place they can be, and those fields are only going to get worse (they are actually sinking – this is public knowledge). We do the best we can every year, year after year, with endless volunteer hours going into maintaining the infields and whatever else we need to do to keep these kids playing baseball. And we will continue to do that, but the city needs to seriously look at a new location for kids in this city to play baseball. This isn’t a small amount of kids either, we are talking about 350-400 kids per year. And hey, if we had better fields, who knows how many more? Not only that, but what a wonderful place, here in Campbell River, to do more baseball tournaments, tournaments that we are just not able to do with the fields we have now. And with more tournaments, that means many visitors into our city spending their money, all over town supporting Campbell River. CRMBA has had some trouble attracting large tournaments to Nunns Creek Park due to the state of the park and ball diamonds. Nunns Creek Park is known across Vancouver Island ball clubs for its unsafe situations (homelessness, needles, unsafe public restrooms, unsafe playground).

Glen Doherty