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Pickleballers cause racket at city council

Members of the Vernon Pickleball Club gather for a picture outside city council chambers on Monday, March 24, 2014 before making a presentation about their sport.
March 26, 2014 - 10:37 AM

VERNON - Council chambers were filled with over forty pickleball enthusiasts sending a message to the Vernon politicians; the popularity of the sport is on the rise and we are giving you fair warning to get on board.

The Vernon Pickleball Club wants the councillors to know they exist and to consider sharing the tennis courts in the city.

"We are addicts. Addicts to pickleball," club member Cheryl Burgess told city council.

Pickleball is played with ping-pong style rackets on a badminton-sized court with a waist high portable net. It's a low impact sport perfect for people moving out of tennis or other high impact racquet sports. In Vernon it's played indoors at the Priest Valley gym in the winter and outside on tennis courts in the summer.

In fact, 4 pickleball courts can be set up width-wise on a tennis court.

The Vernon club was founded in 2011 by nine members when the game was introduced by a member from Arizona. The club has since expanded to 240 members and is growing at a rate of 15 to 20 new members a month.

While most of the pickleball players are from the baby boom generation, more and more people under 50 are taking up the sport.

What the club wants is for the city to permanently mark the tennis courts at Paddlewheel Park and Polson Park with pickleball lines. The group tried to use the courts at Sawicki Park but there's too much sand scattered on the playing surface from the playground and the net is often toppled by wind.

The club has appeared before Coldstream council. The district is considering giving them access to the tennis courts on Middleton Mountain. They'll be making a similar presentation to the Regional District of the North Okanagan board in the near future.

The club is hoping councillors will direct parks and recreation staff to invest in the line painting, making sure the tennis courts have a safe surface and to signal the sport is a high priority so pickleball can be played this summer outdoors in Vernon.

To contact a reporter for this story email halexander@infotelnews.ca. To contact managing editor Marshall Jones email mjones@infotelnews.ca.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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