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Saugeen Shores Looking To ‘Play Ball’ Regarding Shortage Of Diamonds

Saugeen Shores council is moving forward with a plan to solve its shortage of baseball diamonds.

Council has included up to $1-million in the 2018 draft capital budget to purchase land and create conceptual drawings for an outdoor sports complex, which is proposed to feature up to four new lit ball diamonds.

Councillor Mike Myatt says baseball has experienced a resurgence in the community, pointing to a 2010 consultant’s report by Monteith Brown, which estimated youth and adult baseball at about 700 registered participants at the time.

He says that number is expected to reach at least 1,400 participants next year, and they simply do not have the space at their existing diamonds for that many players.

“Monteith Brown indicated that we would need at least three new ball diamonds in the short term, that was in 2010, and in the 2016 master plan report for recreation also said now we need three to six new diamonds,” says Myatt.     “We have a shortage of ball diamonds in this community.”

Saugeen Shores currently has four lit diamonds and two unlit diamonds, and Myatt says they were booked at full capacity last year.

Council also voted 7-1 in favour of spending $45,000 to re-open the second diamond at Jubilee Park in Southampton, which has been closed for about 15 years, aimed at easing short term capacity issues.

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau says he sees no reason to re-open a smaller diamond that will only be used for younger kids and ladies slo-pitch.

“It’s short term, I mean, if we are going going to move forward with a unified ball complex, which is looks like we are going to, which is exciting, why are we spending $45,000, which is a fair bit of money, putting lipstick on a second-rate ball diamond? I don’t know,” says Charbonneau.    “It doesn’t make sense to me.”