Minor sports organizations that use the Mission Sports Park will be meeting with the district to discuss proposed user fees.
At a presentation to council Oct. 22, Dan Williams, president of Mission Minor Baseball (MMB), stated his group is “vehemently opposed to user fees.”
The biggest problem, he said, is this will deter kids from low-income families from signing up.
“These kids need sports the most and benefit the most,” said Williams, noting being a part of a team helps children build self esteem, civic pride and be a part of the greater community.
There are programs such as Kid Sport and Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart which help kids access sports, but there are not enough funds in those programs for everyone, Williams added.
In addition to sponsoring about eight or nine per cent of players, MMB also runs a Challenger Program for disabled children with cognitive and physical disabilities at no cost to the participants or their parents.
“It’s as much a program for parents as it is for the kids,” said Williams, adding parents get a bit of respite. “It’s the most rewarding baseball you’ll experience … everyone’s smiling, everyone’s having a ball. That’s the way it should be.”
The Sports Park was built on budget, but still has drainage issues. Williams pointed out a user fee denotes there is a service or product provided, but the work at the Sports Park is done on a donation basis. “This park in no different than Centennial Park — the only difference is you have dedicated volunteers.”
Mission doesn’t charge to use the tennis courts, water park at the Leisure Centre or the skateboard park.
“There are no staff costs involved in running baseball,” he continued. “We have no receptionist, lifeguard or Zamboni driver. The grass gets mowed once a week and we have a resident caretaker.”
Mayor Ted Adlem is asking stakeholders to get together with the district to discuss the issue.