bulldoze RAP and build a baseball facility?
can't say i think that is remotely close to being a good idea.
replacing a rectangular sports facility with a purpose built baseball diamond removes the ability to use the stadium for more popular and abundant sports which draw higher crowds.
instead scrap the diamond and build a small but covered stand at the back (SOFMA) end...similar to the main grand stand. extend the main grandstand all along the southern side line and upgrade the existing portions. redo the change rooms and upgrade the concession stands. Those changes could increase the capacity beyond 7,500 probably closer to 8,000 or 9,000 permanent seating. Leave the back hill in tact to provide atmoshphere and allow people to sit there for concerts and any games with a beer garden servicing the area in the summer.
The North side of the park can be left as is, and for any major events, temporary seating can be brought in as was done for the u-20 world cup to increase the capacity to 20,000 plus
the field is built for rectangular sports...the inclusion of baseball obviously isn't suitable to the ground given the layout of the stands. build a smaller boutique and less costly baseball ground if baseball players want it. there are ample baseball grounds around town that could be cheaply upgraded to provide an adequate spectator environment.
The next step for the city would be to actually work a bit harder to get events there. the beer fest, folkwest, and rifflandia are excellent additions to the city and provide a great use for the park. these should be encouraged and continued into the future.
Beyond that, womens soccer has a large following in victoria. the city should work with soccer canada to secure a womens national team game each year and under 20 mens and womens games each year. Securing a mens national team game might be beyond the reach given the crowds that they can get to games in toronto and montreal. They could still work to push for games, nothing that victoria is virtually the only place canada could play a game at home from October - April. Key to this is ensuring the stands are covered! for the recent november 15th game in toronto at bmo field, canada versus a lower quality side (st kitts and nevis) the crowd was 10,000. with proper promotion of the game, I'd be fairly confident Victoria could get close enough to that figure.
With rugby canada now headquartered out of langford, and the popularity of the game at the highschool level and beyond as it is in victoria, the city should be looking to secure one home test match a year for the canadian team. the biggest game of the year will always go to BMO in toronto it seems, but victoria could make a strong case for hosting the next largest. Vancouver lacks an appropriate venue though in recent years calgary and edmonton have drawn strong crowds. rugby is most popular in B.C in canada and in washington state to california in the U.S, having a USA v Canada game in victoria is easily accessible for that whole region.
the city should also try to some of the higher level domestic games including major games for the B.C bears who have attracted 2,000 plus to some games in vancouver. big local matches beetween james bay and castaways and uvic should be lured to royal athletic..which i am sure they would happily do were the amenities there. even the annual boot game between oak bay and smus, which regularly attracts inexcess of 1,500 people could be played there. the times colonist cup is another match that attracts large crowds.
these potential new tenants coupled with the summer events and the existing soccer tenants, could readily provide a financial case to undertake the renovations and upgrades to the park.
From my perspective, the three infrastructure/development initiatives I would like to see the city undertake the most are:
1) Work with the appropriate provincial and federal bodies to organise the city's waterfront into a state where it can be developed (my favourite example of what to do with the area between wharf street bar and grill and the malahat is D'ambrosio's design http://www.fdarc.ca/...=content-574775
- before people gasp and say but the city of victoria study concluded a market wouldn't work....this doesn't have to be all market. the bottom floor of both building can be retail with some market style components, restaurants and cafes with a public square inbetween while the top two floors of each building can be high quality office.)
2) upgrade of royal athletic park
3) this is more of an inaction - don't do the douglas street rail and instead do whatever is possible to upgrade the E&N and bring it in to the city