It’s official. The Salmon Arm Cricket Club has found itself a new home in the city.
In April, the club wrote to Salmon Arm council, saying it would like to have a permanent cricket pitch.
With a membership of about 25, the club had been playing sometimes at JL Jackson field and more recently at Bastion Elementary.
At its June 12 meeting, council heard that the club, in consultation with city staff, had found a spot that would accommodate its needs. The site is at Safeway fields, as they’re called, between the Downtown Activity Centre and the Salvation Army building on 3rd Street SW.
Ten small soccer fields are lined there with a wide strip of open field in the middle. That’s where the cricket pitch will be located.
Coun. Debbie Cannon said she’d spoken to the recreation society manager as well as city parks staff, who are on board. The pitch would consist of an asphalt or concrete pad, covered by a permanent mat.
The club said it has purchased the cricket mat that will be laid down and has paid for installation, all totalling about $4,600. It asked if the city could contribute the work for construction of a concrete pad.
Cannon asked the city’s chief financial officer for options for funding, and one of the recommendations from staff was to use funds from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant to the tune of about $7,000.
The club currently has about 25 players from Salmon Arm and it plays weekly matches in Vernon, Revelstoke, Kelowna and Vancouver. It would like to be able to host matches locally, with an eye to bringing in players from all over B.C.
Staff told council that asphalt is cheaper than concrete but concrete would last longer.
Council was also told the cricket club would need to book the field, just as other sports do.
Although the pitch itself wouldn’t interfere with soccer, cricket uses more room than just the strip between the soccer fields.
“It’s always exciting when another option for recreation comes to our community. This is kind of a win-win if we can make it work,” said Cannon.
Council voted unanimously to support the location and to go with a concrete pad.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said she was pleased to support it as the pitch is a piece of infrastructure, it is for recreation and it’s all about inclusion and diversity.
Coun. Tim Lavery also expressed support, adding that perhaps as council learned to lawn bowl, councillors could get an invitation to learn how to play cricket as well.
City staff suggested because the cricket mat is permanent, the city draw up a maintenance agreement so the club can take care of the mat.
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