Working group to evaluate pickleball options

Pickleball and tennis didn’t mix in Courtenay

A working group will evaluate regional strategies for dedicated, outdoor pickleball courts in Courtenay, as approved by council at its June 11 meeting. Council will consider allocating $100,000 in the 2019 capital budget as the City’s contribution to a regional facility. A location has yet to be determined.

“I think this is a very positive investment in the well-being of our community,” Coun. Erik Eriksson said. “The more active we can keep our population, the healthier we will be.”

The Comox Valley Pickleball Association has grown to nearly 300 members. The average age is 66, which the club is hoping to lower.

The City offers a summer pickleball program at Martin Park and a winter program at Native Sons Hall. The sport is also played on the practice tennis court at Lewis Park. There are, however, no dedicated pickleball facilities in Courtenay.

Cumberland, Comox and Black Creek offer indoor, drop-in pickleball. Comox is in line to have six outdoor courts constructed near Highland School for about $210,000.

The CVPA is requesting six dedicated courts in Courtenay, which would cost about $250,000. The Lewis Park horseshoe facility is a possibility, but there is a hazard with fly balls from adjacent ball fields, a staff report notes.

The CVRD Indoor Recreation Facilities Master Plan suggests an indoor facility could accommodate tennis and pickleball. Last year, a pilot project attempted to unite the sports via pickleball lines on the Lewis Park tennis courts, but the project was scrapped due to conflict.

•Council approved the draft terms for a working group intended to improve and formalize communication with the development industry. The idea would be to help resolve perceived stumbling blocks in the application review process and expedite development approvals.

The group would consist of three development representatives, three City staffers and two elected officials. It would be active for a year, then be evaluated.

“We thought this was a good way to test the waters,” CAO David Allen said.

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