Tennis courts being re-purposed for pickleball
A City of Cranbrook recreation infrastructure pickle has been solved by a local club.
City council Sept. 17 unanimously agreed to convert the tennis courts into pickleball courts and approve the instalment of 50mm of asphalt overlay for the proposed pickleball courts, in anticipation of the Cranbrook Pickleball Club completing the project in 2019.
Paul Heywood, city Community Services director, noted in a reported to council the Cranbrook Tennis Society has recently rescinded its non-profit status, and no longer exists.
“In communication with several past members of the tennis society, it was expressed that Cranbrook has enough tennis courts to meet the present demand for tennis. The loss of the Kinsmen tennis courts to pickleball would be accepted. It was also expressed that several physical education teachers used to teach tennis at the Kinsmen courts. In discussion with the physical education teachers, they expressed a willingness to teach their students the game of pickleball if the courts are converted. Tennis would continue to be practiced and taught at Gyro Park, and Mount Baker High School courts,” Heywood reported.
“In an an endeavour to formalize the game within Cranbrook, Dick Robinson and several other citizens have recently formed the Cranbrook Pickleball Club this summer to start formulating a new league, tournaments, and organizing a board that will promote and support the sport of pickleball.
The city will work alongside the new Pickleball Club, the City of Cranbrook to convert the courts for use by the summer of 2019.
“The Kinsmen tennis courts have been out of service to the public for the past four years, due to the deterioration of the courts from the underground streams that have created an unsafe playing surface with large cracks, that has been further worn by the seasonal weather of Cranbrook,” Heywood explained.
The City of Cranbrook will provide an asphalt surface for eight courts, with industrial street paint for the marking of the courts. If council approves the change to the courts, staff will include the project in the 2019 budget.
“The funding will come from the Recap Reserve. The proposed project calls for the city to contribute $65,000 for the 50 mm asphalt overlay, and Tack Coat required for the courts,” Heywood outlined.
“The Pickleball Club will be expected to raise the funds for the anchors, sleeves and gear required for the game. The Pickleball Club will also be required to cover the costs of concrete and installation of the posts, as well as any new fencing required for the project. In total, The City of Cranbrook is expecting the Pickleball Club of Cranbrook to raise $40,000 cash or provide gift in-kind donations, or labour that directly relates to the purchase of the pickleball equipment (concrete poles incl.) or fencing. It is also expected that the $40,000 will cover any contingencies as the courts are developed.”
Dick Robinson told e-KNOW the Pickleball Club is eager and growing. “We have over 90 members now and we knew shortly after the Gyro courts were opened three years ago that we needed more courts.”
The joint project will also enhance Kinsmen Park, he added. “Once it is all completed it will be a great addition to the city and more like the park it was meant to be.”
The City of Cranbrook will continue to own the facility, and will provide a charitable number, as a means for the club to provide donors with a tax receipt as they cultivate and solicit donors for the project.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net, explained Heywood in his report to council.
The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.
Pickleball was one of the most popular sports at the BC 55+ Games, recently held in Cranbrook/Kimberley from Sept. 12 -15. Every zone within the BC senior games participated in the pickleball tournament to capacity.
“It’s great to see the tennis courts be re-purposed,” said Coun. Ron Popoff.
Coun. Isaac Hockley agreed, noting, “Every time you go down to (Gyro) courts there are people waiting” to play.
Lead image: A drone shot of the tennis courts that is re-imagined as a pickleball court – image below. Images by Patrick Baranowski/Submitted by Cranbrook Pickleball Club