Six pickleball courts will soon be constructed at Highland Park in Comox, next to the box lacrosse court.
The project is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Courtenay, which has partnered with the Town of Comox, the regional district, community groups, businesses and the Comox Valley Pickleball Association (CVPA).
Art Meyers, the club’s pickleball project co-ordinator, hopes construction will be completed by the end of June.
“That’s our goal,” said Meyers, noting the project budget is $170,000. “Everybody’s pitched in. Hopefully it’s on time and on budget.”
Invented in 1965, pickleball combines rules of tennis, badminton and table tennis. Statistics indicate it is the fastest growing sport in North America. It has an international federation, with official rules upheld in eight countries, including Pickleball Canada.
Pickleball BC was formed last year in March.
CVPA president Rick Folk notes that it’s an easy-to-learn sport that requires minimal equipment, and can be enjoyed at any age.
“Most people living in the Comox Valley value a physically active lifestyle, so pickleball is an affordable option,” Folk said in a news release. “Having designated outdoor courts will make the sport even more accessible.”
“It’s a great opportunity to expand and grow the pickleball program in the Comox Valley,” said Shawn Bourgoin, recreation supervisor at the Comox Community Centre, which has four indoor pickleball courts. “We have a great program here. It’s great to see older adults exercising and recreating on a regular basis.”
A lack of designated facilities has been a source of conflict locally. Tennis Club members and the CVPA could not agree on painted lines to accommodate pickleball at the Lewis Park courts. The City of Courtenay attempted a pilot project to create pickleball courts with tape. But the conflicts persisted, and the City discontinued the project.
Though it’s called the Rotary Club of Courtenay, president Judith Marriott notes that members work and live in all areas of the Comox Valley.
Edgett Excavating Ltd. and Tayco Paving have offered to donate a portion of the costs of their services to help with site prep.
School District 71 has approved the site for construction. Like the public, students will have access to the courts.