Pam Buckingham volleys a slashing return Tuesday as over 20 pickleball enthusiasts packed the Cominco Gym Tuesday morning.

Pam Buckingham volleys a slashing return Tuesday as over 20 pickleball enthusiasts packed the Cominco Gym Tuesday morning.

Sport suffers growing pains

With the number of pickleball participants increasing, local enthusiasts have outgrown the confines of the Cominco Gym.

With the number of pickleball participants increasing by serves and volleys, local enthusiasts have outgrown the confines of the Cominco Gym and are seeking their own facility.

Over 20 pickle ball players showed up for the morning session Tuesday, packing the five courts with players and forcing a few to the sidelines to wait their turn.

“It’s grown a lot over the summer and we picked up a lot of new players just in the last couple weeks,” said organizer Carrie Lajeunesse. “We’re really into the wellness thing because a lot of us are older but it is good for all ages.”

The sport is a cross between tennis and badminton, using a wooden paddle and a whiffle ball. It is becoming so popular, Trail Parks and Recreation have added another evening slot but the gym’s badminton court layout is too cramped to accommodate the burgeoning pastime.

“The ideal thing here, is there’s talk of redoing the floors and change the five (badminton) courts into four courts,” said Ian Glover, the Seniors Games pickleball coordinator. “These are just way too dangerous.”

Unlike badminton, pickleballers need at least six feet between courts to avoid collisions with neighbouring players.

Parks and Rec had the floor resurfacing in their budget this year but when it was proposed to have the lines changed also, it entailed more expense and the possibility of not enough floor.

“That means a whole other thing in the world of resurfacing floors, you have to take all the surface right down to wood,” said Parks director Trisha Davison. “So there is some concern over how much wood there still is to sand down.”

Although it may add about $10,000 to the original $20,000 budget, it is most likely inevitable, says Davison.

“There is definitely an argument for doing it . . . one will be for pickleball, but even for badminton (the gym) it’s a bit tight . . . so it would make logical sense to improve the space for those sports,” she said, adding it may even get done next year.

The Willie Krause Field House is perfect for the sport but is contracted to J. L. Crowe during the day.

Finding a solution for growing numbers is a good problem to have, finding a perfect facility not so easy.

Representatives from pickleball are set to meet with Parks director Trisha Davison next month to discuss options.

Sessions run Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., Thursday morning 11 a.m. and Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.

The Seniors Games legacy provided new nets while Parks and Rec supplies paddles and balls.

Call the Aquatic Centre or Trail Parks and Rec at 364-6484 to register.