Cornwall: Baseball Fields in Danger? | Eastern Ontario | News
As part of its Waterfront Revitalization Plan in collaboration with the neighbouring Mohawk Akwesasne community, the City of Cornwall recently took an interest in the Legion Park property, home to the baseball fields that are popular with the 25 baseball teams in Cornwall and surrounding cities such as Montreal.
In its first draft presented in early summer 2019, the contractor hired by the City to design the new space proposed, among other things, to transform the baseball fields in Legion Park into a “multifunctional space”.The municipal council had requested the withdrawal of this proposal among the amendments.
The people who use them and who organize baseball locally were consulted,” said Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement.They shared their concerns with us and made us understand that we did not want to transform this land.In the updated plan, there is no discussion of turning these lands into anything else.»
In fact, Mayor Clement says that the City of Cornwall has no interest at this time in destroying or relocating these baseball fields.
However, municipal elected officials cannot promise anything, since the land in Legion Park belongs to the federal government.But in an email sent to Le Droit, local MP Eric Duncan says he will not interfere.
“My priority with respect to waterfront lands, which are currently under federal control, is to ensure that the City, Akwesasne and local stakeholders have a say in their future use.I urge the minister not to open the possibility to outside parties, to bid on and control their future use, denying the community the opportunity to debate their future use.»
He also stated that he intends to meet with residents concerned about the future of the park in the coming weeks, but that the Town and their partners in Akwesasne are in the best position to consult with the community to determine future land use.
However, Cornwall Minor Baseball League vice-president Kyle Bergeron says he is still worried about the future of baseball equipment, because discussions about them are not new.
In 2017, a city councillor had proposed building condos near the land, putting some of the diamonds at risk.It was the citizens’ protests that caused the councillor to back down.
Furthermore, it would not be the first time that the federal government would make a decision on waterfront property without the consent of the population.A few years ago, he leased part of the waterfront to a private company for salt storage, says Mayor Clement, who says she understands the anguish of the residents.
“It was done without city approval.The community was frustrated, and so were we.We don’t always control our destiny on our waterfront, and the same is true for the people who play baseball on those fields.They want more certainty.»
To close the file, Mr.Bergeron, who has already sat on the City’s waterfront committee, is asking for a guarantee from the different levels of government that no matter what decisions are made regarding the development of the waterfront, the baseball diamonds will remain intact.
“I understand that, but we’re limited in the guarantees we can issue because we don’t control all the properties on the waterfront,” says Clement.
Legion Park in Cornwall, “ une works from art ”
Some residents are concerned about the future of the baseball diamonds installed in Legion Park in Cornwall.Cornwall Minor Baseball League Vice President Kyle Bergeron explains why these fields are so important.
“Because it’s not just about baseball.Its design is absolutely sublime and the park is magnificent.It is designed in levels, and each diamond is at a different level.The hills run naturally through the park and offer seats and curved bike paths that cross them.And we can’t forget the view.The park is like a work of art.It’s beautiful and enhances the experience for players and parents alike.” With the Cows of Delaware’s team.
Bergeron says these baseball fields are nationally renowned in the sports community and attract hundreds of visitors each year.”Several Montreal teams come to Cornwall to play, and they tell us they don’t have fields like this in Montreal.”
In the 1980s, Legion Park was developed by a group of volunteers who raised funds from the public as well as a donation from the Legion.Today it is dedicated to Canada’s Veterans.