I am writing this today to express my deep concerns with the diamond situation in the City of Beaumont. I was born and raised in Beaumont and have been actively involved in Baseball not only as a player, but as a parent, coach and board member.
First, a little history in regards to the baseball diamonds in Beaumont. The last time any new diamonds were built was in the early 90’s when my parents, as well as the parents of my teammates, pushed the Town and were successful in getting Four Seasons Park built. Next came the diamonds at Coloniale School in the Mid to late 90s. Since then not only has Beaumont not built any new diamonds, they have removed 4 diamonds.
1. Central Park diamond that was located beside the tennis courts, it was removed to accommodate a soccer field
2. The BRAC Diamond which was located where the south west portion of the parking lot is at the arena, was removed to accommodate the second rink and its parking lot.
3. KC diamond which was located northwest of the senior’s center and directly behind the old KC Hall, was removed to accommodate for the new Beaumont Community Centre.
4. J.E. Lapointe Diamond which was in the northeast corner of J.E. Lapointe’s school yard, is not usable due to the construction at the school and we have been told will not be usable ever again due to the changes of the school yard from the construction.
The way I look at it is we had more diamonds in this town when our population was roughly five to seven thousand people than we do now with our population around eighteen thousand. Does this make any sense?
The Beaumont Minor Ball Association has experienced massive growth in the last 5 years, basically doubling our registration numbers. This season we have 32 teams and 6 diamonds assigned to us by the City. Of the 6, 3 of these diamonds are in school yards which only Rally Cap and Rookie teams can use due to both the size and condition. There are 2 more diamonds at Coloniale School that we can run practices on, but because the Adult Slo-pitch Association has installed a built-in mat where home plate would be, combined with the fact we have to be off these diamonds by 6pm to accommodate their league play, we cannot use these diamonds for games. That leaves 3 usable diamonds for 8 house teams, 2 "A" teams and 4 "AA" teams to try and schedule practices and all the home league games. As you can imagine this is a scheduling nightmare, especially when you take into account make-up games, playoff schedules and "AA" and "A" host weekends schedules which only come out with a week’s notice, if we are lucky.
The Blitz fastball association has experienced similar growth and they now have 11 teams with 2 diamonds issued to them and the Adult slow pitch league has 16 teams with 8 more teams on a wait list with 2 diamonds issued to them, (adult slow pitch only plays games, they do not run scheduled practices).
All three associations have had to look for and use out of town diamonds due to the shortage in the City. I guess Life in Beaumont is only better if you or your children don’t play sports. If the growth continues there will be more and more participants turned away from playing the sport.
For the past several years the BMBA Board has had discussions with the City regarding building new diamonds. All that seems to happen is talking. Before the City was successful in annexing the lands around Beaumont, the excuse was they didn’t have the land to build new diamonds on, Now they have the land but they tell us the land is not serviced and they want developers to fit the bill for the services. I believe this could take years before that happens and once the developer owns the land, they design how it is developed and planned. The City must approve these plans but if the past 20 or 25 years tells us anything, the City does not insist the developers build sporting fields, specifically ball diamonds.
With all this information you can see that we the members and tax paying citizens need to start pressuring our city council, its administration and planning department to get some more diamonds planned and completed. We also need to insist they make any developers plans set aside land to be turned into sporting fields or those plans do not get approved.
What I am looking for is someone to step up and take the lead on creating a group of members and citizens that can start going to council meetings, sending emails, and calling the mayor, councillors and the administration every week, so we can get new diamonds built, remember "the squeaky wheel will always get the grease". We need to become that squeaky wheel until they get some diamonds built.
Below is the information on when the City holds council meetings and contact information for the Mayor, all the Councillors and the city administration that would be involved in planning and developing infrastructure for the City.
Town council meetings are every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month starting at 6pm at Beaumont City hall
Mayor John Stewart, 780-293-5650, Mayor@beaumont.ab.ca
Again, if anyone would be willing to take the lead on this it would be greatly appreciated, the more people that bring the diamond shortage concerns to the attention of the City the more likely they are to get us some new diamonds built.
BMBA President, Concerned Parent, and Active Participant.