The future of the Parksville Community Park sports courts is still to be determined.
At their most recent meeting, city council received a letter from the Oceanside Pickleball Club, the Parksville Oceanside Pickleball Society and the Oceanside Pickleball stakeholders.
The purpose of the letter was to emphasize the importance of repurposing and refurbishing the tennis and box lacrosse courts in the Parksville Community Park.
At the Feb. 3, 2020 council meeting, Keith Hosking of the Oceanside Pickleball Club and John Kuzbik of the Parksville Oceanside Pickleball Society proposed to council that the city convert the park’s existing tennis courts into eight pickleball courts and refurbish the lacrosse box to allow for nine setup/takedown pickleball courts. More than 50 supporters attended that meeting in-person.
“Since that time, there have been many delays and setbacks - no construction has started,” read the letter. “It was also noted in the presentation to council that the tennis and lacrosse organizations are in support of repurposing and refurbishing the courts.”
Coun. Doug O’Brien made a motion during the 2020 meeting to have city staff determine the exact requests for the proposed surface improvements to the tennis court and lacrosse box, and for staff to prepare a report to council on the estimated costs and implementation times.
“At no time during the Feb. 3 council meeting did we agree to the proposal made by the delegation at that meeting. Our motion, which was unanimously approved by this council, was for staff to provide us with information on costs and timelines,” said Mayor Ed Mayne at the Oct. 18, 2021 council meeting. “Nothing more. No commitment to resurface, no commitment to repurposing or reconfiguration. Just to provide us with the background information that we needed to make an informed decision.”
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The director of operations for the city, Belinda Woods, presented to council a report entitled ‘Community Park Sports Courts and Washroom Facilities.’ In her presentation, Woods noted that since Feb. 3, 2020, a grant opportunity became available to leverage taxpayer dollars. On July 27, 2020, council passed the motion that staff be directed to pursue the ‘Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Community, Culture and Recreation’ grant for all proposed community park projects, including the conversion of the tennis courts to pickleball facilities and resurfacing of the lacrosse box.
“Early fall of this year, we were informed that we did not receive this grant,” said Woods.
In the absence of grant funding, the city has allocated $295,000 for sport court resurfacing, and council directed staff to meet with stakeholder groups to identify safe sport options and rough cost options for ‘Option 3’ of Woods’s report, which involves keeping one of the two tennis courts at the community park as a permanent tennis court, and converting the other into four permanent pickleball courts, with separate fencing.