The Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission will explore a possible reconfiguration of space at Portlock Park with news that leased ball fields in the Burgoyne Valley might soon be unavailable.
During Monday’s business meeting the commission voted to pursue an accelerated consultation process for Portlock at a projected cost of $10,000. It will take place ahead of or in tandem with a larger strategic planning exercise encompassing the entire island that wraps up at the end of March 2018.
The group has spent more than two decades trying to find land on which to build new baseball fields since the current junior facilities force any competitive players over the age of 12 off-island. As well, parks and recreation manager Dan Ovington reported the fields leased for adult slo-pitch games may soon disappear, since the property is for sale at a price out of reach of parkland acquisition funds.
“I think we know what the facility need is, and there’s potentially even greater pressure with those two fields being lost,” Ovington said. “It’s just a matter of is there potential to reconfigure [Portlock Park] to get more use, and maybe there’s some.”
Commissioners supported the idea, noting some of the space at Portlock is currently not in use, and that a study would not negatively impact the strategic plan.
“I think when we’ve got so little land for this kind of purpose, maybe there is a better way of using this that would achieve some other objectives and save a whole whack-load of money,” said Brian Webster. “For $10,000 I think it’s well worth taking the step of looking at what some of the possibilities may be.”
For more on this story, see the Nov. 22, 2017 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.