The sport apparently has a quick learning curve, and is played by many locals who vacation in Arizona.
Annette Reeder, Zone 12 Director of the B.C. Seniors Games Society, says she has been trying to get games started in the Energetic City for a couple of years now, but without a proper location. She now has her sights set on the “abandoned” tennis courts at Kin Park, which aren’t currently being used. While the courts are overrun with grass and weeds, with a little work she believes they could fit at least six pickle ball courts.
“It’s still fenced, and it would be an ideal space for pickleball courts to be,” she argues. “The only thing that we would really need is the resurfacing of it. There’s not very much space that isn’t grass and gravel, so it was pretty difficult to play there.”
It can also be played indoors in the winter months, when Reeder says it’s important to get both children and seniors active.
“We have, like, seven months of winter here, and really, you can’t do very much outdoors or indoors… so now we want something that is not too strenuous – they can play at their own level – that can be done by seniors and get everybody moving.”
School District 60 has previously given permission to use the school gym at Bert Ambrose, but Reeder says netting between each court would be necessary to catch flying balls. A makeshift court was set up behind the Seniors Hall last week for locals to give the sport a try, with a positive response.
In addition to asking the City for the use of the courts, Reeder is also hoping for financial help with resurfacing and installing nets. City Manager Dianne Hunter suggested the group look at the approach the Fort St. John Skate Park Committee took recently in raising funds for a new skate park in the city, which is now getting built.
“Again, an activity in the community that the members of the community very much desired, they pursued with fundraising – I think they continue to raise $400,000 to $500,000 for that facility,” Hunter explains. “It’s really easier to work with a club or an organization that will spearhead the fundraising.”
She also points out that the Kin Park tennis courts have been included in the City’s budget over the part number of years, but are always cut. Director of Infrastructure and Capital Works Victor Shopland says the estimated cost to upgrade them would be around $400,000 to move them closer to the parking lot and street, as the current site has issues with flooding.