Needles, feces and the unhoused send Island kids baseball program to greener pastures
A Campbell River ballpark riddled with needles and feces is no longer safe for children.
That was the message presented by Stewart Dumont and Larry Samson of the Campbell River Minor Baseball Association Tuesday as they asked the city to OK its move from Nunns Creek Park to the Sportsplex.
The pair brought letters of support from numerous parents, volunteers and community members echoing the association’s concerns.
“Nunns Creek Park is not suitable for children to play at in my opinion,” wrote Terry Basso. “One of the moms was taking her younger children to the play area the other morning and I had to tell her to look for needles first. Is this where we want our children playing?”
Chantelle May, who has been actively involved in minor baseball since 2011, says while the behaviour and concerns aren’t new, they have certainly escalated over the years.
“From the very beginning, in 2011, we had to do what we dubbed ‘needle and feces sweeps’ of the fields, bathrooms and playground to assure that our children would not come into contact with anything/anyone dangerous to them,” writes May. “This just became a normal part of our duties before each game/practice.”
But recently, May says, they have gone from sweeping the fields for feces and needles to also encountering intoxicated people who threaten people’s safety.
“I had encountered a man occupying a bathroom, with his shopping cart, he had barricaded the door only to open it to spit at me because I had asked him to please pack up as we were hosting a tournament that weekend,” May writes. “He then went on a verbal tirade directed at anyone within earshot (about 50 parents and kids) with the most vulgar language I’ve ever heard.”
Stacey Rosse, manager of the league’s U11 Yankees, says she, too, has had enough.
“I love how excited my kids are to head to the ball field a couple times per week, however, as a parent/coach/manager there is also a a feeling of dread and anxiety,” Rosse says. “What will be waiting for us today when we get there? How many needles am I going to find on or near the field? How much garbage will be piled up in the dugout?
Council decided to immediately move CRMB to the Sportsplex. There was a recommendation to ask city staff to come back to council with a report on the matter, but council decided that three weeks was too long to wait.
“The presentation was disturbing,” Mayor Andy Adams said. “But we wouldn’t be meeting again for three weeks and I felt that was too long to wait. We can’t have kids put in that type of situation.”
The city will establish an inventory of its fields and what shape they are in – perhaps partnering up with the school district on a plan – so they can get everyone able to play, as well as, Adams said, “figuring out what we’re going to do with Nunns Creek Park.”
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