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Royal Athletic Park's future


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#1 ViccyScrub

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 04:38 PM

"Omnipresent" martini was helpful enough to start a thread of this topic (Royal Athletic Park's future) in the 2011 Municipal Elections general discussion; but given that the election is over and RAP's future is still far from settled (and the possibility that the 2011 election section could be erased/locked), I've decided to start a new thread here in the Sports and Outdoor Recreation section.

To summarize: a Vancouver businessman plans to start a new baseball team in Victoria, and wants to use Royal Athletic Park (RAP). One of his alleged demands is that a permanent outfield wall be installed for the 2013 season. Apparently the City of Victoria is to make a decision by January 2012.

If such a permanent outfield wall were to be installed, most other sports would be shut out of RAP, including soccer (Victoria Highlanders FC, Victoria United, the Vancouver Island Soccer League, various cup finals, youth soccer, etc.).

Understandably, the soccer community is up in arms about this, as they arguably have the most to lose if RAP is converted from a multi-sports facility to a single-sport facility. Their position has been that, like in the past, a moveable outfield wall (with wheels) should be used, which would allow RAP to continue on as it has been since 1908 - as downtown Victoria's outdoor multi-sport facility. Soccer fans are happy to have baseball back in Victoria (in fact, many people like both soccer and baseball), but they don't think it's fair for baseball to have exclusive use of RAP.

There have been several items in the Times Colonist:


The Lake Side Buoys, supporters of Victoria Highlanders, polled all 24 of Victoria's recent election candidates, and 17 of the 24 were in favour of keeping RAP as multi-sport. None publicly supported converting RAP to a single-sport facility. (The remainder were either non-committal or didn't respond.) Of the eight councillors who were elected on Saturday, six of them publicly support keeping RAP as multi-sport.

An online petition has been created for Victorians to give their support to keeping RAP as a multi-sport facility. You can find it here: http://www.change.or...-sport-facility

#2 tedward

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 02:54 PM

Now that we have a clear majority on the new council in favour of keeping the multi-use nature of the park we need to see them take action by instructing city staff to make it non-negotiable with the proposed baseball team.

Victoria has supported baseball very well in recent years and RAP is a great venue. I think this means that the proposed team will have to concede their request is untenable.

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#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 02:58 PM

Now that we have a clear majority on the new council in favour of keeping the multi-use nature of the park we need to see them take action by instructing city staff to make it non-negotiable with the proposed baseball team.

Victoria has supported baseball very well in recent years and RAP is a great venue. I think this means that the proposed team will have to concede their request is untenable.


I agree tedward. One of the reasons cited by the Seals for leaving is that the city DIDN'T want to let them have more control of the park.

I'm writing to council.

You all can do the same with this easy link, to send same message to all council.

http://www.victoria....Council Contact
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#4 G-Man

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:13 PM

Isn't RAP in effect a single-use facility (soccer) now?

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#5 Bob Fugger

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:19 PM

Isn't RAP in effect a single-use facility (soccer) now?


It is during the winter - no other leagues are in play. Come to think of it, though, with the Rebels and Seals gone, I think you might be right...oh unless you count Beerfest.

#6 spanky123

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:39 PM

Can't win.

The Seals shut down because they claimed the City treated them like crap at RAP and the Highlanders have moved from Langford to RAP because they claim that Langford treated them like crap!

#7 tedward

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:44 PM

...the Highlanders have moved from Langford to RAP because they claim that Langford treated them like crap!

Not exactly...the Highlanders moved because BM "Stadium" was being taken over by Rebels Football and the national rugby team and RAP was a more viable venue with fewer competing demands. I don't believe City Centre Park ever treated the Highlanders like crap.

I would also like to think they realized that being out in Langford severely limited their target market.

As for the Seals & RAP: I understood the Seals wanted to basically take over the facility and get a cut of revenue streams that belong to the city (parking, food & beverage service) but without the kinds of major investment that allowed for that kind of takeover of Memorial Arena.

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#8 G-Man

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 03:23 PM

So why is it okay for it to be a single use facility for soccer?

You could easily put in a decent soccer stadium at Topaz Park. Those fields are significantly underused currently and there are four of them.

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#9 ViccyScrub

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 10:36 AM

So why is it okay for it to be a single use facility for soccer?


Just because soccer may be the only sport being played at RAP at present, doesn't mean that RAP is a single-use facility. There is no permanent infrastructure for soccer at RAP that would prevent other sports from being played there. RAP can still accommodate other sports (and non-sporting uses).

You could easily put in a decent soccer stadium at Topaz Park. Those fields are significantly underused currently and there are four of them.


The fields are Topaz Park were built for amateur sports, not professional spectator sport. Dozens and dozens of amateur clubs play there.

The way those fields were laid out (cramming four fields into that space) was designed entirely for amateur sports. There is no significant seating, as the facility wasn't meant for spectator sports. In theory, a stadium with adequate seating could be put there, but it would probably mean a decrease in fields from the current four down to just one.

Such a transition would create a war between professional and amateur sports, and it would mean money that was spent creating the turf field in the northwest of Topaz Park would be wasted.

Topaz Park is meant for amateur sport; Royal Athletic Park is meant (primarily) for spectator sport.

#10 Moosebeer

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 11:12 AM

It is time to bulldoze RAP and build a proper Baseball facility. This is not a good place to watch baseball, most of the seating is not covered and the seats are terribly uncomfortable. Besides, most cities the size of Victoria have a baseball only facility.

During a Seals game, the wind picked up and blew the temporary outfield fence to the ground. There was a significant delay while the staff and players put the fence up again. What a huge embarrassment for the city.

Could you imagine the public outcry if the boards fell down after a bodycheck at the Save On Foods Centre during a Royals game ?

#11 jklymak

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:27 PM

It is time to bulldoze RAP and build a proper Baseball facility. This is not a good place to watch baseball, most of the seating is not covered and the seats are terribly uncomfortable. Besides, most cities the size of Victoria have a baseball only facility.


I don't think anyone would mind if someone built a baseball-only park in Victoria. Whats the problem? These teams charge admission, don't they?

#12 Nparker

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 03:47 PM

I don't think anyone would mind if someone built a baseball-only park in Victoria.


As long as it's not built with my tax dollars I say let it happen. Professional sports should be self-supporting.

#13 G-Man

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

Just because soccer may be the only sport being played at RAP at present, doesn't mean that RAP is a single-use facility. There is no permanent infrastructure for soccer at RAP that would prevent other sports from being played there. RAP can still accommodate other sports (and non-sporting uses).



The fields are Topaz Park were built for amateur sports, not professional spectator sport. Dozens and dozens of amateur clubs play there.

The way those fields were laid out (cramming four fields into that space) was designed entirely for amateur sports. There is no significant seating, as the facility wasn't meant for spectator sports. In theory, a stadium with adequate seating could be put there, but it would probably mean a decrease in fields from the current four down to just one.

Such a transition would create a war between professional and amateur sports, and it would mean money that was spent creating the turf field in the northwest of Topaz Park would be wasted.

Topaz Park is meant for amateur sport; Royal Athletic Park is meant (primarily) for spectator sport.


Topaz is so significantly underused you could scrap two of the fields and still have them vacant part of the year.

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#14 Bob Fugger

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:50 PM

Topaz is so significantly underused you could scrap two of the fields and still have them vacant part of the year.


What do you define as "significantly underused?" Those fields are generally packed, especially weeknights with rec soccer. Year round. Maybe they look significantly underused because of rec soccer Christmas break (December-February).

#15 G-Man

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:16 PM

Are you kidding. I live in sight of the fields and only ever see the artificial field being used at night. On the weekends you may have two fields in use at once. The only time I have ever seen all the fields being used was during the Highland Games.

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#16 jonny

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 11:37 PM

Isn't RAP in effect a single-use facility (soccer) now?


I have seen little league football being played at RAP this year.

#17 baconnbits

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 06:35 PM

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

#18 G-Man

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:54 PM

No one has suggested bulldozing RAP. Some have suggested building new baseball diamond whichI would support if we could get a double a team.

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#19 Bernard

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 01:25 PM

I would not support having the City pay for any renovations to RAP for the benefit of a private company.

If professional baseball makes financial sense, the team should build their own stadium. In fundamentally disagree with any public money being spent on professional sports.

#20 baconnbits

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:20 PM

[quote name='Moosebeer']It is time to bulldoze RAP and build a proper Baseball facility.[QUOTE]

yes...someone did suggest you bulldoze RAP to build a baseball facility.

a baseball facility suits baseball. build or redevelop a baseball park elsewhere.

RAP should remain a rectangular sports facility - soccer, rugby, football can all be played there and played there well, rather than one sport which clearly doesn't draw much in the way of crowds in canada.

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