The Sunshine Coast fastball playoffs will be back at the familiar surroundings of Hackett Park this weekend after the District of Sechelt and the Fastball Association came to an agreement on temporary safety improvements.
The improvements include a home run fence, a portable toilet and additional wildlife-resistant garbage bins.
Playoff games will be played Aug. 11 and 12 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The neighbours will be notified and signs will be posted to alert drivers and passersby of the upcoming tournament.
In a release announcing the return of fastball to Hackett Park, the district said the league “accepted that modern safety requirements and permanent upgrades to the baseball diamonds are needed if fastpitch is to continue playing at Hackett Park.”
Those permanent upgrades would involve installing larger backstops and permanent netting to reduce the number of foul balls leaving the field.
The league is considering the potential costs and funding options for the required safety improvements.
The Fastball Association was told earlier this year that it could no longer play at Hackett Park because of safety concerns, but would be allowed to play at Kinnikinnick Park. League representatives lobbied council to allow them to return to Hackett, arguing that Kinnikinnick wasn’t suited to fastball and the location wasn’t convenient for the league’s fans, who enjoyed being able to watch ball games downtown.
“People have been able to walk over and watch summer baseball games at Hackett Park for many years. Helping this tradition continue by supporting these upgrades will be a benefit to the community,” said Mayor Bruce Milne.
League representative Mike Fawcus told Coast Reporter that they appreciate the accommodation being made by the district to allow the year-end tournament to be played at Hackett Park. “We also want to thank the Coast Reporter and the community as a whole for the ongoing support they have shown our league during the mitigation of this issue, and we look forward to seeing all our fans in the stands for what will prove to be a great couple of days of fastpitch this weekend,” Fawcus said via email.