Town council debates access to ball fields

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

There’s a bit of a dilemma shaping up at Sinclair Fields in Slave Lake. On one hand you’ve got the notion of unfettered access to public baseball fields; on the other hand you’ve got the minor baseball people trying to maintain a couple of the diamonds in excellent shape. Those two things do not go together very well.
Derek Starnes, the town’s rec facilities manager, had a report for council at its April 11 meeting. It posed the question: should minor ball be allowed to continue locking the gates to the diamonds they play on and try to maintain? Or not?
Opinions on council were split. Some disliked the idea of giving special access or control to one group. On the other hand, minor ball puts in a lot of time and effort to make sure it has a good playing surface, and it can get messed up. Locking the gates doesn’t actually prevent kids from using the diamonds if they want to, said Starnes, but it does tend to limit the damage.
“We invested a lot of money in those diamonds,” said mayor Tyler Warman. “We want to make sure they stay in good shape.”
Warman went on to note that there are four other diamonds that aren’t locked, not to mention four more on the other side of the highway with no access restrictions.
Councillor Julie Brandle made the motion to keep the gates locked on the two diamonds in question. It passed by a 4 – 2 vote, with councillors Mark Missal and Joy McGregor opposed.

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