The Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS) want to put a USL Pro team into New Westminster, British Columbia, and upgrade an existing ballpark for soccer, but local baseball organizers don’t want to lose a prime facility.
The Whitecaps and the City of New Westminster have signed a memorandum of understanding about bringing soccer to Queen’s Park Stadium, currently used for baseball. As the stadium features lights, it’s a popular place for youth games and tournaments. It’s also a venue popular for Little League and B.C. Minor baseball games and practices. As New West Baseball has raised $60,000 in recent years to upgrade Queen’s Park Stadium, organizers are understandably loathe to give up the facility. From The Record:
“There’s a lot of kids that look up to that place as a place to play, and that’s their field of dreams,” said Ron Suffron, president of New West Baseball. “I think that’s a really good thing for the city to invest in their kids, and that’s money that you can’t put a price tag on.”
The main concern for Suffron and others in New West Baseball is that they will be pushed out to make room for the soccer field.
But Dean Gibson, the City of New Westminster’s director of parks, culture and recreation, said the city contacted New West Baseball even before the proposal was announced and wants to work with the group to find a suitable alternative, if the proposal goes through.
The next step: a financial plan for converting Queen’s Park Stadium to soccer and creating a suitable replacement elsewhere in New Westminster.