The Osoyoos Minor Baseball Association has approached the Town of Oliver about improving its baseball facilities as the association experience growth and success with its players. Submitted image

Osoyoos Baseball pitches council for better facilities

Osoyoos Minor Baseball Association is pitching town council for better facilities

The Osoyoos Minor Baseball Association (OMBA) is throwing its biggest pitch of the season.

OMBA is hoping its city council will be able to provide them better facilities after approaching them on Tuesday at their meeting. With a vision to grow the future of baseball in Oliver and Osoyoos following two seasons, OMBA wrote a letter to council regarding facility usage. OMBA has attracted more than 200 players in its first two years.

Jason Bartsch, president of OMBA, wrote to mayor and council that feedback from a survey they conducted mentioned the need for “baseball field infrastructure” and available facilities. Bartsch also wrote that dialogue with the Community Services Department yielded an impasse with respect to available facilities. While the facilities at Desert Park serve the younger ages well, the all-grass, multi-use nature of the park is ill-suited to competitive baseball for their under-11, -13 and -15 age groups. Games were played primarily in Oliver as Oliver Parks and Recreation were able to accommodate the teams.

In his letter, Bartsch indicated that Osoyoos has already developed the potential for two beautiful baseball fields in the community. One has been outfitted as a slo-pitch field without a suitable baseball pitching mound on the field. The other baseball park has been converted to a dog park over the past several years. The association would like to see the town re-purpose the dog park back to a ballpark with the following additions: a dual pitching mound configuration for both 13U and 15U age groups with base anchors for 70-feet and 80-feet base paths and a proper dirt infield.

Bartsch is suggesting two options to council. The first is to relocate the dog park to Kinsman Park, utilizing the existing fencing, gazebo and water servicing to enhance the multi-use capability. The use of the small soccer field is minimal in it’s current form and could be converted easily with a small run of fencing to a totally contained dog park. Kinsman Park is walking distance to a large population of the town and would serve as a better location than the current West Bench Field dog park.

“This option would be the most cost-effective solution as virtually all of the infrastructure for a beautiful dog park is already on site,” wrote Bartsch. “It also adds another reason for families to use the park and playground to include the family pet as well. We have learned that the dog park is going to be installing some agility equipment and we feel the relocation could be accomplished in a timely manner to accommodate this equipment very soon.”

The other option is relocating the dog park to the vacant lands South of Desert Park.

“We are certainly not proposing the abolishment of the dog park, quite the contrary,” he wrote. “Option 1 at Kinsman Park would increase the usage of the current park, allowing families and individuals with dogs to utilize a terrific park, central to the Town residents and within walking distance to a great number of Osoyoos residents and businesses. We would argue that the current dog park requires a trip in the car for anyone wanting to use the park. Relocating to Kinsman Park would leave more cars at home, encourage pedestrian traffic on Main Street and promote a social hub in this great green space.”

Bartsch also wrote that when the West Bench Field was allowed to be used temporarily as a dog park originally, the primary reason was that there was no minor baseball program and no demand for the use of the baseball field. There are grant programs and money available to assist with the re-fitting of the park and they are not asking the Town to contribute in a monetary way, only that the park to be returned to it’s original intended use, for baseball.

Last year its teams competed Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland, Penticton, Princeton, Keremeos and OK Falls. Facing larger associations their teams had competed exceptionally well, said Bartsch.