SHELBURNE, N.S. – Long-time Shelburne coach Roddy Conrad has had enough.
He’s made coaching his life and it’s likely anyone on a local sports team or with a child in sports has had Conrad as a coach.
On Wednesday, July 13 Conrad went to the Roger Grovestines field in Shelburne to get ready for a rookie double header.
He attempted to make his way into the building where the bases were stored but it was overtaken by hornet’s hives.
He headed to the local sports store to buy new bases rather than risk entering the building.
But that was only one in a laundry list of problems he could see at the field.
“I am in total disgust what at one time was one of the nicest fields in the province is now a mess infield, is growing over with weeds, dugouts are in danger of falling down and shingles blown off the roof,” he wrote on Facebook when he got home.
By the next day he had created a Facebook group called ‘Bring back our rec department in Shelburne’ which amassed close to 800 followers within the first few days.
In a phone interview, Conrad believes this to be the issue surrounding the dwindling recreation services and maintenance in the town.
The Town of Shelburne eliminated the recreation director position several years ago.
The Town of Shelburne CAO Dylan Heide said the position never was responsible for park maintenance but has always and continues to fall under the responsibility of the town’s public works department.
“If there is ever a problem people can let us know,” said Heide.
He said one way to do this is by filling out a work order online.
But Conrad remembers when the town was eligible through their recreation department for two summer students who would help to make sure the local parks and fields maintained.
There are also 21 lights out at the field and Conrad knows first hand how much of a danger that is.
On July 14, he himself was playing a game of ball at night when he took a ball square in the chest at high speed.
“I never saw it leave the bat,” he said.
Another player said he didn’t even get a chance to flinch under the poor lighting.
“It was too close to me not being here,” he said.
The ball field is now closed to games at night until the lights are fixed.
Conrad met with Heide on July 18 and the town has already cleared up the hornets nests and is working toward some of the other issues.
Conrad is also upset with the lack of recreational opportunities within the town.
“We are the only town without a recreation position in Shelburne County,” he said. “The position should never have been taken from us.”
He said it should be a platform issue in the falls municipal elections that will take place.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to this and I am not backing down,” said Conrad.