Disturbing behaviour at Campbell River’s Nunns Creek Park has youth baseball players, parents, and coaches concerned and wanting change.
In a letter addressed to council’s Committee of a Whole meeting this past Tuesday (May 11th), CR Slo Pitch said they were recently contacted by the Campbell River Minor Baseball Association (CRMBA) about “an ongoing safety issue” at the park.
“We understand that the homelessness crisis and drug activity around the park is causing safety concerns for minor baseball,” they wrote, adding: “they are wanting to move to a safer location.”
In the letter, CR Slo Pitch proposed they trade fields with the Minor Baseball Association, “since adults may be able to deal with the current activity around Nunns Creek Park.”
They said the diamonds at the Sportsplex may offer a safer environment for youth practices and games at this time, “especially considering that adult team sports are on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, and CR Slo Pitch is not using those fields.”
A handful of Campbell Riverites also voiced their concerns about Nunns Creek, in a series of letters sent to council. With baseball season underway, Kayla Lewis says she has seen some things at the park she describes as “jaw-dropping”: In addition to “garbage strewn all over the place,” she says she often finds used needles on the ground.
When dropping her son off at baseball one evening, she says she came across a man singing and bathing himself while drinking alcohol in the public washroom.
“I know my son is not the only child who is scared to use the washrooms or even be at the park alone on any occasion,” Lewis wrote. “When the children and parents are concerned for their safety at the one and only baseball field in Campbell River, that is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
And Terry Basso says excessive cursing and yelling can often be heard from the bleachers while kids are on the field, in addition to people “shooting up” on those same bleachers.
City manager Deborah Sargent tells Vista Radio council went over CR Slo Pitch’s letter, and the letters sent in by concerned locals, which she calls “very troubling.”
“As a result, council has approved Campbell River Minor Baseball moving their practices to fields at the Willow Point Sportsplex for this year,” Sargent says. “There are multiple groups that use the Sportsplex Field, and we expect that demand is going to increase at the Sportsplex once the pandemic restrictions ease. So we’re contacting other sports organizations to discuss how to best share this space.”
In an upcoming report to council, Sargent says staff will provide options for field use in 2022. It’ll also provide recommendations for safety improvements at Nunns Creek Park, especially since it’s “recognized by Minor Baseball and the whole community as a treasure of a park.” She says they want to make it a safer place for people to play.
Mayor Andy Adams is now thanking the Baseball Association for speaking up and coming forward: “It was certainly disturbing to hear some of the issues that they have been dealing with… that our young baseball players, children, and families should never have to experience,” he adds. “We’re certainly taking it seriously, and looking at all options as to how we can rectify the problem.”