Organizers of this summer’s 2016 Women’s World Softball Championships held a media event Wednesday to show off a new-and-improved Softball City facility.
The afternoon session – attended by reporters from Peace Arch News, Vancouver Province and CBC – saw tournament chairman Greg Timm detail all the work that has been underway at the park in recent months, adding a sparkling new look to what he referred to as “the jewel of softball in Western Canada.”
In addition to media, officials from the World Baseball Softball Federation were on hand, touring the park in a separate group.
Among the park improvements – reported by PAN in April – are new irrigation, dirt and turf at all four Softball City diamonds; new dugouts and seats at the main diamond; brighter lights at all diamonds; upgraded washrooms; and a new backstop on the main diamond which drastically improves previous sight lines for spectators.
As well, Timm said, 2,500 temporary seats will be added beyond the outfield fence on the main diamond by the time the tournament begins; that number is more than double the usual number of seats added for the Canadian Open Fastpitch Championships, which are normally played in mid-July but will be on hiatus until 2017.
In April, Owen Croy, Surrey’s manager of parks, told PAN the improvements – which began in 2014 – have cost about $1.5 million.
The 2016 world championships are set for July 15-24, and will feature 31 international teams.
The tournament schedule is set to be released in “about 10 days” Timm said, adding that Canada’s first game will be against Great Britain, and is scheduled for immediately after the event’s opening ceremonies.