Pickleball courts are a little too close for comfort as club looks to expand with upcoming resurfacing project. (Jim Bailey photo)

Trail pickleball players lobby city for input in resurfacing courts

Trail pickleball group raises questions over upgrades to aquatic centre courts

A delegation of West Kootenay pickleball players lobbied for input at Trail City Council on Monday, Aug. 17.

After receiving funds from Columbia Basin Trust, the city committed to resurfacing the pickleball and tennis courts at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre (TALC) this fall, but didn’t consult the local pickleball club regarding design or changes.

During the public question period, pickleball enthusiast Brad Harding explained to council the growing popularity of the sport and its benefits to all players, in particular seniors, both from a health and social perspective.

In addition, many seniors considering retirement scout out residences based on the number and quality of their respective pickleball courts.

“Can the City of Trail, the Home of Champions, boast of their first-class pickleball courts? We think not,” said Harding.

Wayne Kissick followed Harding and related to council the problem with the current courts and that a fix was necessary. Currently, there is no space between the four pickleball courts at the TALC, which leads to constant interference and potential injury.

“We have a problem with distancing between courts, and down the sides, not so much front and back,” said Kissick. “Basically they were inferior and substandard, but there was nothing we could do about it. But now I understand the entire court facility is being redone … We believe it should be done to a higher standard for the safety of all pickleball players and tennis (players).”

Kissick was key in having the pickleball courts constructed in the first place, leading the delegation at Trail City Council in October, 2012. The club expedited the city’s decision to install the courts by offering to raise funds to pay for the conversion of a tennis court to the four pickleball courts.

Kelly Moore followed Kissick and also voiced his disappointment in the lack of consultation during the planning process. He pointed out that the numbers of pickleball players in Trail surpasses that of tennis players, with demand for court time drastically outdistancing supply, and suggested transitioning one of the two remaining tennis courts to pickleball.

“The existing footprint we have would be better suited for six pickleball courts and one tennis court,” said Moore. “The clearance around the existing pickleball court is too small and is a safety hazzard, which has been brought up several times.”

Councillor Sandy Santori looked for clarification on whether the group wanted improvements to the current courts, or additional playing areas.

Harding suggested that the more inexpensive course would be to turn one of the existing tennis courts into pickleball courts rather than remove trees and repurpose the drainage.

“The dream is six, but four is okay,” added Kissick.

Council passed a motion, “That staff be directed to provide reporting to Council with respect to the refurbishment of the courts at Butler Park and address concerns raised within the current project and to provide Council with options to consider before the project proceeds.”

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