The Vernon Pickleball Club is asking the regional district for a half million dollars for new courts.
The request was made to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee which will discuss the issue at its next meeting in March.
The club says it plans to also provide a half million dollars for the project from donations and grants, and have so far raised $53,058.
“We hope to reach our fundraising target this year. We have started the process of applying for grants,” said club member Pat Andrews.
GVAC director Bob Spiers says they have already provided the club with a site in Marshall Field.
“We’ve given them a spot to build the thing, so I don’t know. I will have to really think about matching a half million bucks.”
Andrews says the 330 member club is hoping to get a new facility open in time for the BC 55 Games this September.
Spiers feels that’s a bit optimistic.
“If you apply for grants from the Canadian government, they don’t arrive in three months. They arrive in 6 to 9 months if they arrive at all.”
The estimated cost for the non covered courts is 1.2 million dollars.
The club is currently using the Priest Valley Gym and some local schools for courts.
“We are using all the facilities to capacity. There is a shortage of available space,” Andrews told the committee.
GVAC director Mike Macnabb says it’s a large amount the group is seeking.
“We always have to look at it to say, who does it benefit? They’ve got 330 members, that’s great, that’s fantastic, but at the same time, 1.2 million dollars, that comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket,” Macnabb tells Kiss FM.
Greater Vernon Advisory chair Juliette Cunningham says they will have to take a closer look at it.
“It’s a a growing trend, and it’s not only just the aging population that’s playing pickleball, it sounds like even young people are interested in it.”
Andrews says a new facility would boost tourism in the city.
“One tournament would bring in $285,000 to the community,” says Andrews, who says if the building started in may or June, it could be done in time for the games in September.