Slo-pitch calls relocation plan by Delta unfair

They want to make sure everyone is playing.

That was the message Mayor George Harvie had Monday after a presentation by Perry Coleman, president of the Surrey North Delta Funball League, which is to be displaced from Delview Park to make room for a new cricket pitch.

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During the question-and-answer period at Delta council’s meeting at the Kennedy Seniors’ Centre, Coleman said there had been no consultation with long-time user groups, adding the plan to relocate slo-pitch to less playable fields is unfair.

“Delview, with Delview school, is the only location in North Delta with multiple, suitable fields for adult tournament use. Taking these fields from us certainly doesn’t follow Delta’s families first agenda as, in fact, it eliminates an activity that is very family oriented.

“It’s been suggested that our league is unwilling to make room for other user groups. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we were never consulted about the changes and no one from Delta ever took an interest in how these proposed changes will affect us,” Coleman said.

“We just want to ensure that our league and our sport, which has used Delview for over 20 years, is actually accommodated. There’s a lot more to be said. There’s a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation out there and an extreme lack of user public consultation has created this problem.”

Slo-pitch players have been vocal about changes planned at the 116th Street park to accommodate the installation of a cricket pitch, a move approved by council earlier this year.

The cricket pitch is to be completed in time for spring play.

The parks and recreation department noted Delview was considered the best option for cricket. In order to accommodate it, slo-pitch usage is to be moved to other fields. There’s also an off-leash dog area on the east side of the cricket field, so a 15-foot safety net will be installed.

Slo-pitch and other user groups, including baseball and soccer, want to meet with Delta senior staff, said Coleman, who was accompanied by a contingent of slo-pitch players at council.

Harvie assured Coleman that city manager Sean McGill will meet with them, adding that a public report will also be produced.

“We need to provide more suitable fields for our recreational use… we want everybody playing,” Harvie said.

Coun. Lois Jackson asked if she could also attend the meeting but Harvie responded he would rather have McGill and Coleman meet and that council would be updated in the subsequent report.

Last week Harvie joined Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon at the park where Kahlon announced $175,000 in funding from the provincial government towards new amenities, including a picnic shelter, cricket facilities and washroom upgrades.

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