Future of Telus Field in question
Telus Field may be demolished as part of a plan to redevelop the Rossdale area in Edmonton.
Peter Ohm, urban planning manager with the City of Edmonton, said Thursday that the future of the baseball stadium will be discussed in light of the West Rossdale Urban Design Plan.
Demolition is one option, so is reducing the size of the stadium.
But Ohm said that the parking lot will be gobbled up by the proposed development which may make the facility undesirable for prospective tenants.
“There’s a lot of discussion about the future of the field and that’s what we’re going to ask council if we can dig into that,” he said.
The 9,000-seat Telus Field was once the home of the Edmonton Trappers, a triple-A professional team in the Pacific Coastal League.
But in the last decade, baseball in Edmonton hasn’t been so successful. The Trappers were sold in 2004 and moved to Round Rock, Texas. They were replaced by the Edmonton Cracker Cats, which played in the Northern League,and then the Golden Baseball League.
The team was bought by the Edmonton Oilers and was renamed the Capitals. The team hasn’t played since winning the North American Baseball League Championship in 2011.
"We need a five-year lease to re-enter another league – another semi-pro league – and the City's been reluctant to give that to us," said the Capitals’ former president and COO Patrick LaForge.
Listen to Patrick LaForge's interview on CBC Edmonton AM
The Edmonton Prospects club is playing there this season, but it's a lower-level baseball league.
However, Prospects coach Ray Brown said the club is still important.
"That's part of baseball history for the City of Edmonton, and probably for the province of Alberta. It's more than just a baseball field. To me, it would be pretty sad if the city council decided to tear it down and put up buildings or whatever they want to put up there," said Brown.
"Just because the Trappers are no longer here and the Capitals are no longer here – there's still the Edmonton Prospects – and the Edmonton Prospects are a pathway to colleges, to pro baseball," he added.
While stressing that no firm decisions have been made, Mayor Don Iveson confirmed that council will be discussing the future of Telus Field.
“We’ve got to ask ourselves some questions about the long-term sustainability of that facility without a major team in it,” he said.
The West Rossdale Urban Design Plan was approved by council in 2011. The plan includes high density housing as well as a promenade along the North Saskatchewan River.
Council will discuss the consultant's plan next week.