The Saltair Slo-Pitch League has been granted a permit for the 2022 season by the Cowichan Valley Regional District board, after an outpouring of support from the community.
The motion to approve the permit passed with a few conditions, specifically that the league must follow the CVRD Parks bylaw, and adhere to the measures the league outlined as steps it could take to address some of the concerns raised by the board.
The measures the team proposed are to provide the rules in writing to each team which must be signed by the team managers and players, have team representatives to ensure rules are being followed, and the ensure the teams leave the field by no later than 9:30 or earlier to comply with the dawn to dusk rules.
Lynne Smith, area G director who moved to have the permit denied at the Electoral Area Services Committee meeting, said she has received several emails from people asking for the permit to be approved.
“Earlier today I received an email from a ballplayer, ‘if we can get another permit I would work very closely with the league to ensure the ball park is treated well and cleaned up after every game. I care about this so much that I will do almost anything for us to keep playing ball again at Centennial Park. If there is anything I can do to help the cause please let me know,'” Smith said.
“I find that very respectfully stated. It is clear that there are many ballplayers and residents in our area that are not familiar with the CVRD Parks bylaw, and that is unfortunate.”
Smith then moved to have the permit approved with conditions.
Several other board members noted there was a high level of correspondence received about this permit.
“I was really surprised to get all the emails that I did about this,” Alison Nicholson, area E director said. “I thought it was a fairly cut and dry issue. But what I was very surprised at is how valued these ball fields are in the community.”
However, it was noted that not all correspondence was respectful.
“I was quite disturbed, quite frankly, with the tone of some of the correspondence we received on this,” said Al Siebring, director for North Cowichan. “I read some of the emails referring to ‘this Karen that doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.’ That’s that’s a direct quote. I’m sorry folks, but that is no way to garner support of elected officials.”
Several other directors echoed the statement that some correspondence was disrespectful, and asked the public to engage respectfully with the board members.
Through discussions, the board members settled on a three-strike system for the league’s permit. A first strike will receive a verbal warning, second strike will receive a written warning, then on the third strike the permit will be rescinded.
The Saltair Slo-Pitch League permit allows use of the field between April 23 and July 22.
Aaron Stone, director of Ladysmith said he is happy to see the permit approved so slo-pitch can continue to use the fields.
“There’s nothing better than the crack of the bat and people clapping and seeing the kids on the playground,” Stone said. “And really that’s what we’re all here to do in the end is to bring community together.”
READ MORE: After 40 years on the field, Saltair Slo-Pitch League denied permit by CVRD committee