Pickleball players in Williams Lake would like to see one of the tennis courts near Kiwanis Park converted into four permanent pickleball courts.
Kevin Bourdon, president of the Williams Lake Pickleball Club, made a request that city council received at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 18.
“We are looking for options and going with what other cities did and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” he told the Tribune.
Quesnel had six tennis courts, they took over two and made six dedicated pickleball courts.
In Williams Lake there are only two tennis courts — at Kiwanis Park and the golf course.
Bourdon said the pickleball community spends a lot of time at Kiwanis Park.
There are over 30 people who belong to the local pickleball club and in the winter 50 people were playing through the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex program at Williams Lake Secondary School Columneetza Campus.
Through the club, people played Saturdays at Thompson Rivers University where they rented gym access.
“It worked out quite well in the winter time, but summer time is a little tougher. We want to be able to have the public be welcome and have set times that we can play,” Bourdon said, noting that type of permanency helps develop the sport and develop people to come out and get exercise.
“It is getting huge and taking off.”
Last summer there were 16 to 24 pickleball players out at a time using both tennis court surfaces at Kiwanis Park. Club members set up four portable nets in order to use the available courts.
Making four designated pickleball courts would allow 16 people to play at one time, still leaving the other tennis court open for use, whereas right now only eight people can play at one time whether it is for pickleball or for tennis.
“We looked at the tennis courts at Kiwanis Park as an inexpensive alternative.”
When the City resurfaced the tennis courts they also repainted pickleball court lines in yellow over top of the tennis court lines, which are white.
“You can play pickleball now using the tennis net. It’s not ideal, but it works.”
Tennis nets are 36 inches in the middle and the portable pickleball nets are 34 inches, which the club stores in a locked cabinet at the park.
Bourdon and his wife, Brenda, are in their fourth year playing pickleball after hearing about it in Williams Lake.
The snowbirds brought it back from Arizona or California, he said, noting he and Brenda have always loved racket sports and play often.
“It’s a cool sport because you can get children who are eight years old and they can actually hit the ball and have some fun. To teach people to play, does not take long to be able to have a bit of a game within a couple of hours.”
That introduction, however, is followed by a lifetime of learning because it is a technical sport, he added.
During the meeting council directed staff to examine options for costs and potential locations for a pickleball facility and on Monday, June 29, the community services department released a survey to gather information regarding the activity courts at Kiwanis Park.
This story was updated from the original to add the City’ survey.