The diamonds at Parksville’s Springwood Park are real gems, well-used and providing avid baseball players a place to have fun, train and compete.
Oceanside Minor Baseball Association and the Parksville Royals, strong advocates in the promotion of the quality of life in the community through youth sports, have been the primary guardians of these diamonds.
OMBA has been around for 39 years and annually has 200 to 300 children and families involved in many of its events at Springwood Park. It holds house league games, playoffs, invitations and summer championships.
The Royals are a high-level club that started 25 years ago and a founding member of the BC Premier Baseball League.
The club helps players aged 13 to 17 compete at the highest level.
Both groups have initiated projects to improve the diamonds at Springwood Park. They’ve contributed funds and also put in volunteer hours to see projects completed.
Recently, Mike Parlow, senior general manager of the Royals and past president of the OMBA, appeared on behalf of both groups at the Nov. 4 regular Parksvile council meeting to request modifications to be done on Springwood Park.They want more improvements to the diamonds to bring them up to BC Baseball standards.
They have indicated that this would benefit the OMBA as it would allow it to host provincial championships, which they’ve missed out in 2017 due to the conditions of the field.
Upgrading the Rotary Baseball Field by removing the infield grass and replacing it with cinder or shale is one of them. Parlow said bringing the field up to standard will enhance the level of play and provide a higher level of safety.
Parlow said their biggest problem right now is that diamonds are overbooked.
“We have the only two diamonds in the district that midget aged, high school league players can play baseball at,” said Parlow. “We can’t play in Qualicum, we can’t go to Nanoose, we can’t go to Bowser. This is it. You can go to Courtenay, you can go to Nanaimo and there’s nothing in between. So we’re really looking forward to improvements to those fields to facilitate the kids out there and keep them active and keep them doing this.”
A new scoreboard is also being requested to replace the existing one purchased in 1998. It has been experiencing chronic failure and unfortunately is no longer serviceable.
The other proposals made by both clubs include permanent fence in the Royals outfield, equipment shed and covered bullpen, a clubhouse, Rotary diamond cut-out, lights and artificial turf on Inouye-Wallace field.
Parlow said they are willing to contribute to the cost with the city, organize fundraisers, and help complete the work with volunteer labour.
The City of Parksville staff reviewed the requests from the two baseball organizations and considered three proposals that are feasible to be undertaken. They are purchase of new scoreboard, cinder upgrade and permanent fence in the Royals outfield.
Funding packages will be prepared for all three projects to be included during the 2020 budget deliberations. As for the other proposals, they will be deferred to the newly created parks committee for consideration.