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East Trail park ready to play ball, but no lights for another year

The installation of lights at Butler Park will be delayed for another year
About 40 Trail Youth Baseball parents, coaches and players turned up at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park on Tuesday evening to wake the field for baseball season and the U18 Trail Orioles home opener this Saturday. See Orioles story on Pg. 7. Photo: Jim Bailey

The lights will remain out at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park this baseball season.

After a windstorm took down several trees, the netting, and a light standard in January 2021, the City of Trail planned for the replacement of all light poles and netting to be completed by March of last year.

In August 2021, Trail council approved a $1.6 million budget for new lights and protective netting. Two months later, council awarded the respective contract to Martech Electrical Systems Ltd. Poles and netting were to be installed by spring of 2022.

That date was postponed, and has been delayed once again after a manufacturing error was detected in the poles.

“A number of the light pole segments were manufactured incorrectly, and are not suitable for our installation,” explains Chris McIsaac, Trail public works director. “The city has been informed the pole engineer/supplier is working on a replacement solution, but has not provided follow up information at this time.”

The inability to host night games will effect Trail Youth Baseball and the U18 Trail Orioles who were looking forward to playing under the lights while competing in BC Minor Baseball’s College Prep League.

“It will be another year that we have to navigate without lights,” said Jim Maniago, Trail Youth Baseball president and U18 Orioles coach. “We’ve had to redo our schedule and likely will lose some games, but we’ll adjust and make the best of it.”

The poles had been inspected prior to the windstorm and were deemed structurally unsound. A December 2020 inspection found extensive vertical cracking and concrete spalling on the inside of the poles, to the point that daylight could be seen through some of the cracks. There was also extensive corrosion of the cables and de-bonding of the concrete structure at the foot of the poles.

Lights aside, the city says the park will be ready for this season’s baseball games, which is set to start this weekend.

“In the interim the contractor is working to restore the park so minor baseball can play out the season under similar conditions as last year,” McIsaac said.

“Although the park will have a bit of an unfinished look as there are a number of poles installed that will remain in place while awaiting the arrival of the replacement poles.”

Read: Butler Park to get new lights before 2022 season

Read: Butler Park lighting and contract awarded

Jim Bailey

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