Funding offered to improve Sooke fastball pitch

CRD, community association willing to help

The Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and the Sooke Community Association are willing to help pay for upgrades to Art Morris Park, if the District of Sooke is a willing partner in the project.

Up to $10,000 is earmarked from the electoral area’s federal gas fund to help pay for the $85,000 project, said Mike Hicks, the Capital Regional District’s director for the Juan de Fuca, while the community association has pledged $10,000 for improvements to the park’s main ball diamond.

Money from the district is “very likely,” said Sooke councillor Megan McMath.

For years, Sooke Minor Fastball Association has maintained the park on Throup Rd., which caters to both youth and adult players.

The Sooke Minor Fastball Association says it can no longer afford the maintenance of the park and improvements.

Justin Wilson, association president, says investment from local governments will improve playing conditions for more than 170 kids in the Sooke Region.

“Art Morris Park is not up to the standard of what other fields have throughout Greater Victoria,” Wilson said.

“I’m trying to get us back to what other people have for our kids.”

Sooke is in a unique situation compared to most communities where a not-for-profit private entity, in this case the Sooke Community Association, owns many of the playing fields, and leases them back to sports leagues for a nominal fee.

For the fastball association this means providing maintenance, paying utility bills, and funding capital projects, even though there are other users of the facility.

Wilson said close to $85,000 is needed to upgrade the ball field and money to carry out necessary field maintenance. The association would like to see improved drainage for No. 1 diamond, batting cage improvements, a security gate replacement, a new clubhouse and dugout roof and fencing upgrades.

In the past, neither the district nor the Juan de Fuca Electoral area has contributed to the operation of the park.

“It’s always put on us to fund it, volunteer, and maintain it,” Wilson said.

Wilson said in some cases former presidents of the association have put in “ten of thousands” of dollars in upgrading the facility or donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time.

Juan de Fuca’s grant money is contingent on how much money Sooke puts into project, based on a 25 and 75 per cent split.

Karl Linnell, of the Sooke Community Association, pointed out in the past park maintenance and upgrades were left up to volunteers. Last year, volunteers from his group help rebuild the park’s grandstands.

Both McMath and Wilson said volunteer labour is now not so easy to come by in Sooke, with changing demographics.

“It worked in the past when there were more volunteers,” Wilson said. “It’s more difficult now.”

McMath is confident the district will help fund the project, and is expecting an announcement soon.

“It’s a no-brainer,” she said. “It’s something we need for the community.”



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ninja groups could be setting children up for identity theft, online safety expert says

‘When I started seeing entry codes into secure buildings, I’m thinking oh my God, what are we doing?’

Federal government tenders remediation of Sidney’s Reay Creek pond

With tendering deadline of June 12, Transport Canada admits project is behind schedule

Close call has North Saanich councillor appealing for traffic safety

Coun. Jack McClintock is using an incident involving his daughter to highlight traffic safety

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read