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Minor baseball executive talks about the cost of renting sports facilities and other issues

Jason Walmsley [1]

Jason Walmsley

By Bevan Hamilton [2] and Suzanne Coolen [3]

BELLEVILLE – Jason Walmsley, an executive with Belleville Amateur Baseball [4], says the biggest issue for the sports community is keeping costs down so more kids can participate.

Walmsley has been involved with minor baseball in Belleville in various capacities for more than ten years. QNetNews sat down with him as part of our Municipal Election Project [5].

Walmsley said baseball’s stable numbers indicate the community is healthy, but he is worried about the cost.

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Walmsley said the city doesn’t provide any compensation towards the high costs, and the baseball association pays the city for use of their parks.

Walmsley said the association pays around $3500 for diamonds throughout the course of every summer, which only includes getting the grass cut and infields raked. He said other centres pay far less and receive more. Wellington doesn’t pay for their diamonds at all. Walmsley said one centre pays a flat rate of $5 per player for the season, which would equate to $700 for the season instead of $3500. He said that price includes the city putting out the bases and lining the infield for games.

“Since we pay our rental fee to the Parks and Rec department of the city, we would like to see the city reduce the rates. We are aware of the costs of the equipment, rising gas costs, manpower, etc., but we wonder why if other centres are so much less expensive, where does our money go?”

Walmsley did say the city has done a good job maintaining the baseball diamonds.

When we first spoke with Walmsley about the issue of the Yardmen Arena, he suggested with the current low attendance to games, it might not be the best use of money for the community to invest in upgrades or a new rink. However, Walmsley did some research and discovered that while the Bulls have the lowest average attendance in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) [7], they filled 71.8 per cent of the arena capacity over the 2013-2014 season, according to Hockey Attendance [8]. That ranks them twelfth out of twenty teams.

“The spirit of the fans is a large part of the community,” Walmsley said. He said he believes the Bulls are an important part of the community and wants to see them stay in Belleville.

QNetNews is also asking everyone we talk with about the proposed casino for Belleville.

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We also asked Walmsley what issues mattered to him on a personal level. His main concern is Thurlow. He wants to make sure council doesn’t neglect the outer parts of the city of Belleville.

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