Gem of a field hits a home run for Bralorne

This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

Annual Bralorne Ball Tournament no longer in jeopardy due to aging facility

Photo credit: Lisa Wagner

A beautiful green diamond is in the middle of Bralorne B.C., and each year it attracts up to 200 visitors over the Canada Day long weekend.

This is how Debbie Demare, director of Bridge River Valley Community Association, describes Bralorne Ball Diamond. The community of Bralorne, nestled amongst towering coastal mountains an hour and a half north of Whistler, boomed in the early 1900s to 1,500 residents due to mining opportunities for gold, not diamonds. Now, less than 50 people call Bralorne home and the green diamond in the centre of town stimulates the local economy and livens the secluded community each summer during the annual Bralorne Ball Tournament.

In 2015, the baseball diamond’s perimeter fence was in such disrepair that the 30th annual Bralorne Ball Tournament was in jeopardy. The Bralorne Community Advisory Committee came together and created a plan to apply for funding to replace the dilapidated fence. Northern Development stepped up to the plate and pitched in $8,300 for the $12,750 project.

“The fact that we replaced the fence with a proper, modern fence has really solidified the reputation of the ball tournament,” said Demare. “The fence was the starting point to build the pride of the people in the ball diamond and it was the start of them fixing up the ball diamond. Since then, they’ve fixed bleachers that were falling apart and the tables. It really was the catalyst for more happening.”

Photo credit: Lisa Wagner

Money received from the tournament and from the Squamish-Lillooet regional district enabled other updates to be done to the field to enhance it for future uses. Having a well-maintained facility is important for the community because it leaves a positive impression with visiting players during the tournament. The tournament has become more successful and in 2018 it made money. Now, organizers are contemplating initiating a second baseball tournament.

Demare observed that receiving the grant from the Trust and other funding from the Area A Select Funds from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and a HDI/Amarc Corporate Contribution demonstrated that it is possible for the community to receive funding from outside sources that result in income generation for residents.

Funding for this successful project in Bralorne came from the Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program. This program provides up to $30,000 for projects that support the sustainability and expansion of local community infrastructure to host events which increase tourism revenues and community quality of life for residents. The program also helps rural areas access funding for community assets that would not normally have an opportunity to apply for a larger economic development infrastructure project.

Photo credit: Lisa Wagner

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