A motion introduced to add dedicated pickleball courts in the Parksville Community Park failed to pass at the March 21 Parksville city council meeting.
Coun. Doug O’Brien brought forth the motion, seconded by Coun. Teresa Patterson, to construct 16 new courts, that can accommodate up to 64 players, and would run adjacent to the green area and skateboard park in the parking lot behind the curling club at the community park.
He said the space is under-utilized and only ‘fills up three times a year’.
“It’s a great piece of real estate in the park. It’s compacted and it’s not vegetated already, which means that it doesn’t have the problem of invasive tree roots that we have in the community park that keeps on bucking up the surface no matter how many times we crack seal it,” he said.
On March 7, council passed a motion that authorized city staff to add $362,000 to the 2022-26 financial plan to the Park Capital for Community Park sports courts for safety and accessibility improvements, which included resurfacing for multi-use tennis/pickleball courts.
O’Brien said the associated costs would be “relatively similar, if not cheaper” to install dedicated pickleball courts instead of a multi-use tennis/pickleball court since the city would not have to tear up existing surfaces.
“I think it’s worth another look… They’ve been asking for so long. I think it’s just time for us to set it up and recognize that it’s an up-and-coming sport,” he said.
“I’m in favour of setting them loose with their own piece of property and let them run it like the lawn bowling club and like the curling club does,” said Coun. Al Greir. “It’s time that they were self-sufficient.”
Greir did add he thought the courts would take up too much space in the parking lot and the cost to install dedicated courts at the community park would be too expensive.
Coun. Adam Fras was supportive of additional pickleball courts in the city, but would not support O’Brien’s motion since council “just finished a lengthy process of looking at different plans and options”. He said he would “hate to go back to the starting point” and create possible delays, especially since the cost for creating new courts at that location is still unknown.
Mayor Ed Mayne agreed, and said, although he wasn’t against additional pickleball courts, he thought the compromise council made on the multi-use tennis/pickleball courts was fair and didn’t want to ‘flip-flop’ on the decision.
At the end of discussion, O’Brien and Patterson voted in favour of the motion, with Coun. Mark Chandler, Coun. Marilyn Wilson, Greir, Fras and Mayne in opposition.