Parksville Oceanside Pickleball Society at their Third Annual Dinkathon Tournament. According to the OPC, membership in the two clubs has grown 15 per cent each year. (News file photo)

Pickleball proponents present plan for Parksville park

City staff directed to look into creation of 17 courts in community park

A host of Parksville Qualicum Beach pickleball enthusiasts packed the Parksville city council chambers on Monday (Feb. 3), asking for the addition of 17 pickleball courts in Parksville Community Park.

More than 50 supporters were in attendence.

Following a council discussion and a motion from Coun. Doug O’Brien, city staff members were directed to meet with stakeholders from Parksville’s two major pickleball clubs to discuss the possibility and investigate the requirements of the proposed courts.

Keith Hosking of the Oceanside Pickleball Club and John Kuzbik of the Parksville Oceanside Pickleball Society presented their proposal, that the city convert the park’s existing tennis courts into eight permanent pickleball courts, and refurbish the lacrosse box to allow for nine set-up/take-down pickleball courts.

“Refurbishing and repurposing these courts as well would promote a healthy lifestyle for the citizens and residents of Parksville. … In so doing, you are supporting more than 500 current club members and many more future pickleball enthusiasts,” said Hosking.

The two proposed this take the place of the pickleball courts slated to be built at Springwood Park, the budget for which was $320,000. However, the actual cost for building the pickleball courts at Springwood could be close to $1,000,000, according to city staff.

“We feel this is a fiscally responsible option when it comes to refurbishing and re-purposing this particular venues. … It provides much more for a lot less than Springwood did,” said Hosking.

READ MORE: Pickleball club lobbies for Parksville courts

The two claim that the cost of refurbishment and conversion of the existing courts at the Parksville Community Park would cost between one-third and one-quarter less than the cost of the Springwood courts, as much of the infrastructure is already in place.

Hosking said the proposal is supported by the Arrowsmith Tennis Club as well as the Oceanside Lacrosse Association. He also mentioned that the infrastructure would be a potential draw for tournaments. The delegation had hoped that conversion of the courts, which would require new surfaces on both the tennis courts and the lacrosse box, be completed by the start of the 2020 pickleball season in April.

READ MORE: Local club debuts pickleball tournament

CAO Keeva Kehler said that one of council’s current projects would have to be bumped to make the refurbishment happen.

“I think having it done by April this year is, I would say, not feasible,” said Kehler.

Mayor Ed Mayne agreed that the April 2020 timeline wasn’t feasible, but stated his support for the project.

“We need to let these fine people, they’ve been waiting for the better part of three years for this. I think it’s time that we either fish or cut bait, as they say. I think we need to get this done yesterday,” said Mayne.

Staff and the two associations will meet to discuss things further after O’Brien proposed a motion that passed unanimously, “to request staff meet with these two associations to determine the exact requests for the proposed surface improvements to the tennis court and lacrosse box in community park as soon as possible, to enable staff to prepare a report to council for estimated costs and implementation times.”

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