Sam Steele Days is three months away but the subject came up at a regular city council meeting on Monday.
Mayor and council waived the $716.65 in rental fees for the fields at the Kinsmen Quad Ball Park and the Moir Park ball diamonds for the annual Sam Steele Slo-Pitch tournament.
That touched off a discussion about a recent trend of the tournament extending into the late (or early) hours of the night, as teams are sometimes still on the field after midnight.
“We actually get surprisingly few complaints about the late hour,” said Wayne Staudt, Chief Administration Officer for the City of Cranbrook, after a question from Councillor Ron Popoff. “We get more complaints doing this late-hour thing over at Rotary Park, but at the ball diamonds, we rarely get any complaints.”
Councillor Tom Shypitka also wondered if there had been any complaints around any bars or pubs.
“We haven’t received any complaints from them either,” Staudt continued. “My sense is that during Sam Steele Days, everybody’s busy. All the bars are busy and everybody’s busy.”
The discussion also brought up a funding sticking point, as any community organization requesting funding from the city must go through a new grant application process that opens up in the spring. The ball tournament organizers were requesting funding through a contingency fund, which council has the discretion to authorize a limit of roughly $500.
The Slo-Pitch tournament is one of the premier events of Sam Steele Days, attracting 70 teams from Western Canada and the U.S. to compete in three separate divisions of competitiveness. Funds raised from the tournament are returned into capital projects for Cranbrook ball diamonds such as a double batting cage at Confederation Park and a bathroom/outhouse/storage facility at Moir Park.