Agassiz’s two-pitch league will not have to pay increased fees to use the local baseball diamonds, but will have more accountability when it comes to clean up.
In Kent council Monday (April 8), director of community services and projects Jennifer Thornton responded to concerns from the Agassiz two-pitch league about increasing fees for tournaments.
Last meeting (March 25), league organizer Deanne Edmondson told council that the league was taken unawares by a fee increase for their two tournaments.
In the past, fields had been paid for using the hourly rate. In 2018, it switched to a full-day tournament fee.
“The invoice was adjusted in good faith to help the organization finish their season off as they had been charged in previous years,” Thornton told council on April 8.
That adjustment brought the Agassiz two-pitch league’s total cost down from $6,020 to $4,100, a number which was much more in line with previous years.
Charging the league the tournament fee, rather than the hourly rate, increased the cost significantly because tournaments take a lot more work from staff, Thornton said.
“Quite a lot goes in the Friday prior to the tournament to get everything ready,” she said, noting that staff prep the fields, do some work to the washrooms and bring out extra garbage cans.
During the tournament, Thornton said, “we’ve found that the amount of garbage and high use of the outdoor washrooms do require a bit of maintenance” by weekend staff.
The Monday after a tournament, “we do a full garbage pick up and clean and get everything back to order,” she added.
Thornton gave council four different options for moving forward with the two-pitch league: removing the tournament rate from the bylaw and just using the hourly rate, as had been done in the past; using the full tournament rate with no discount; providing a 25 per cent discount on tournament rates; or providing a 50 per cent discount.
Although council was initially divided on whether to give the 50 per cent discount or maintain the hourly rate — councillor Stan Watchorn and mayor Sylvia Pranger were in favour of the discount; councillors Kerstin Schwitchenberg, Susan Spaeti and Duane Post were in favour of the hourly rate — all agreed the two-pitch league is an important part of the community, and needed support from the district.
“The two-pitch league has been around a long time,” councillor Duane Post said. “It includes a lot of First Nation communities, all the way up to Boston Bar, who participate in the league. And I think it’s important we support them as much as we can.”
Watchorn suggested the league pay a damage deposit for each tournament so the league has “a sense of responsibility for cleaning up all the extra garbage that’s associated with that.”
Post agreed with the damage deposit, suggesting it start at $500.
“A damage deposit ahead of time is usually a good incentive for teams, or in this case the league, to keep themselves tidy during the tournament, so it doesn’t put a lot of extra cost on all the taxpayers in the community,” he said.
Councillor Kerstin Schwitchenberg felt the damage deposit should be more: $1,000 a tournament. Although she put a motion forward to charge the Agassiz two-pitch league the hourly rate for their tournaments with the $1,000 deposit, it was amended to only include the $500 deposit.
Staff said they would monitor how much extra time is spent on preparation and maintenance for cleaning up after tournaments.