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New youth training facility sought at Centennial ball park

White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association requests city’s help
Among annual events for The White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association is the Henri Lorieau Memorial Tournament, usually held in July. File photo.

The White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association is asking the City of White Rock to consider a proposal for a new baseball batting and training facility at Centennial Park.

Association president Randy McKinnon and members Mark Koropecky and Ray Persaud appeared digitally before the city’s regular council meeting Feb. 8 to discuss the proposal, which would provide an indoor training centre for what has become a year-round activity for the association’s players, who range in age from five to 18.

The current indoor facility at South Surrey Athletic Park is at capacity, they said.

Council unanimously endorsed a motion from Coun. Helen Fathers calling for a staff report on the idea, including how Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) from ongoing development could help pay for a requested $50,000 city contribution (to date, the association has committed approximately $300,000 of its own funds to the project, which comes with a total price tag of $535,700).

The site, city-owned land at the east end of the Centennial Park baseball field, has two open-air batting cages under a shed roof, but these are too cold to use in the winter months, McKinnon told council.

In their place, the association wants to build a “tensile fabric structure” 50 feet wide and 80 feet long, which would house three batting cages.

READ ALSO: White Rock Tritons ‘ready to go’ as new, modified BCPBL season nears

Working with Vancouver-based supplier Sprung Structures, the association is proposing a “spacious, column-free, clear-span interior with natural diffused sunlight, high performance insulated walls and roof assemblies,” which could be completed in a rapid construction schedule of some two and a half months, they said.

Planning and development services director Carl Isaak confirmed that such a project would be eligible for CAC funding provided the facility would be available for other community use, in care of the association, as the city’s non-profit designate.

McKinnon said the nets inside the proposed facility would be “fully retractable” to enable the space to be used for other sports although pickleball – which Coun. David Chesney noted is currently putting pressure on the city for more facility space – would probably not be among them, due to the type of turf surface planned.

READ ALSO: Pickleball players sour about the lack of courts in North Surrey as game’s popularity grows

The presenters noted their association has been running for more than 60 years, providing baseball training for some 900 boys and girls each year.

It’s also home to the Challenger program, which allows children with cognitive or physical disabilities to develop social and physical skills through baseball activities.

The association has won numerous titles over the years, including three consecutive provincial championships, and has frequently represented Canada in the Little League World series.

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