The White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association has had its wish for a new Centennial Park facility granted by the City of White Rock.
At the March 29 regular meeting, council unanimously endorsed Coun. Scott Kristjanson’s motion to approve the association’s plans for a new baseball batting and training facility at the park, and a $50,000 contribution from the city — drawn from community amenity contribution funds from the spate of recent uptown developments.
The facility would be a city asset, it was noted.
“There’s been a lot of talk on social media about how many people are White Rock-ers and how many are South Surrey,” Kristjanson said.
“I just think you’ve got to invest in our community, and I think this is a great opportunity to help kids be active. And I don’t care if they’re Surrey residents or White Rock residents. I’m sure it’s going to be a big mix of both. I suggest we want to improve our facilities, and it’ll be part of our city.”
Association president Randy McKinnon and members Mark Koropecky and Ray Persaud had appeared digitally before council on Feb. 8 to make the ask for the funding and discuss the proposal, which would provide an indoor training centre for what has become a year-round activity for some 800 to 1,000 of 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, and while 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, they are too cold and exposed to the elements to be used year-round, McKinnon told council.
In their place, the association will build a “tensile fabric structure” 50 feet wide and 80 feet long, which would house three batting cages. Total cost of the project is $535,700 to which the association has already contributed more that $350,000 of its own money, with a commitment to fundraise the rest.
Referred to staff, the proposal came back to council with a strong recommendation to approve from leisure services director Eric Stepura, noting that the facility will be usable by other sports organizations.
“Staff have worked with the architect hired by the (association) and have agreed on the preliminary facility design that meets city site requirements and building code requirements, and also would work with the executive to oversee the construction of the project and the development of a operating agreement,” he said.