Covered sports facilities desired by Delta coaches

The Delta School District’s plan to build two covered turf fields creates buzz among sports groups desperate for dry practice facilities

Local sports teams are champing at the bit for covered playing facilities to be built in Delta.

The Leader’s informal poll of coaches and youth sport administrators in the community suggests the pair of artificial turf fields being proposed by the Delta School District would be coveted.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea personally. Gyms aren’t the best venue for a baseball program,“ said North Delta Blue Jays general manager Larry Waddell.

The B.C. Premier Baseball League team currently travels to Richmond and Surrey for indoor practices during the inclement weather seasons.

The Richmond Olympic Oval is one of the facilities the team rents, at a cost that Waddell says is a lot more money than a school gymnasium. And having an affordable and accessible baseball program is an important consideration for Waddell.

But choosing the right practice venue boils down to being able to have the room to swing a bat.

“The biggest issue in baseball right now—not just with us, but across the board—is hitting,” said Waddell. “Players aren’t spending enough time swinging a bat.”

The Blue Jays GM has met with the captain of the covered sports field project, DSD deputy superintendent Garnet Ayres, to talk about the baseball team’s specific needs.

The plans call for four batting cages to be housed inside the 30,000-square-feet facilities. Waddell said the size of the fields is practically ideal for the Blue Jays program.

“The 200-foot distance is good for long toss. The width of [the field] is long enough to run an infield practice,” figured Waddell.

The Blue Jays senior and junior teams would fill up the covered sports fields’ sign up sheet four to six times a week in the wintertime.

A seasoned coach with extensive travel under his belt, Waddell chastised Delta for dropping the ball on creating adequate sports facilities.

“It seems to me, just generally right across the board, Delta has less facilities and poor quality athletic facilities for children and youth than facilities in other municipalities that I see around the province,” said Waddell.

Longtime Delta field hockey coach Neil McLennan echoed Waddell’s sentiments. The Delta Falcons have been campaigning for a dedicated field hockey specific turf in Delta for decades.

“Every artificial turf put in by Delta has been more geared towards soccer,” said McLennan. “We’ve always been looking to upgrade Winskill Park to a field hockey field.”

The club has been collecting a turf fee as part of registration from its players for the last number of years and has about $100,000 saved to help pay for a portion of the estimated $1.5 million needed to construct a flat turf field.

When asked if the Falcons have approached the municipality to explore corporate sponsorship for a new field, McLennan said “it’s not something Delta greets with open arms.”

“Delta Parks has always had concerns about sponsorship—even putting signs up around their field,” said McLennan.

Ken Kuntz, Delta’s director of parks, recreation and culture, isn’t aware of any formal proposal from the Falcons.

“I don’t believe that they [Delta Falcons] have approached us,” said Kuntz. “It’s hard for us to consider something that is theoretical.”

He said the municipality is open to solid business plans that involve corporate partnership. He points to the Tour de Delta, saying the annual cycling race has a significant amount of corporate funding.

On the subject of sports facilities in Delta, Kuntz is aware there are definite desires from the community, but chooses to focus on the inroads that have been made.

“Delta is rather blessed with a number of facilities. That doesn’t mean that we don’t look at the gaps and try to fill those in,” said Kuntz.

He cites the Ladner Sport Field Enhancement Plan, approved by Delta Council last December, which includes a $3.8 million turf field at Dugald Morrison Park.

Indoor recreation in North Delta—which Kuntz said is not being supplied to the same level as it is in South Delta—is another area that is being addressed through the expansion of the North Delta Recreation Centre.

But the bottom line, said Kuntz, is municipal-funded recreation projects have to really benefit the community.

“Land is at a premium. We want to make sure it’s being used 365 days a year and it isn’t too restrictive,” he added.

Delta Sport Council president Barry Howard is praising the idea of covered sports facilities.

“…I can say that anything that would be designed properly with specific sports in mind would be a welcome addition to our community,” said Howard.

The former president of the South Delta basketball program would also like to see a covered facility for hard court sports.

“I know if they had something covered to keep the rain off and a basketball court that we could rent, and lit that we could use in the evenings,” said Howard.

Such a facility could be the impetus for a summer basketball league.

“If you’re away from the sunshine, it would be fantastic,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: McCallum’s futile crusade against Uber is embarrassing for Surrey

Mayor’s claim that majority of residents don’t want ride-hailing is simply laughable

Surrey bylaw’s tactics with Uber drivers deemed ‘entrapment’ and ‘completely wrong’

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke and Linda Annis had to say Monday about city staff hailing Uber drivers then issuing them warnings

South Surrey/White Rock residents snubbed on ride-hailing services

Lyft and Uber express plan to expand to peninsula once enough drivers are available

Surrey Eagles qualify for BCHL playoffs after weekend victories

Junior hockey team will return to post-season for second time in six years

White Rock council defers decision on cannabis-store applications

Delay will offer time to absorb input from Jan. 27 public hearing

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Earthquake on top of highway closure a wake up call for Island’s West Coast

“When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared.”

Newspapers, hockey cards discovered in Mission school’s forgotten time capsule

Capsule opened in front of students from West Heights Community School

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

Most Read