Pickleball players in town will finally have a court to play on in the summer months thanks to a federal grant and a unanimous decision by members of council.
According to a report presented to council at its regular meeting on Dec. 18, recreation services has been working with stakeholders and a group of pickleball players since August 2011 in an attempt to find a preferred site for courts.
After what Mayor John Borrowman described as a “pretty remarkable” process due to its timing, council approved the location of pickleball courts on the Cougar Creek outdoor ice surface site.
“I’m happy to have this issue resolved,” Borrowman said about council’s decision. “It’s been more than a year for us. Pretty remarkable it would take so long.”
Currently, the rink at Cougar Creek is used for ice hockey in winter and multiple sports in summer such as basketball and road hockey.
A list of different sites was considered for the implementation of pickleball, such as the Three Sisters school ice surface, the old daycare ice surface and the basketball court at Canmore Collegiate.
However, due to accessibility, the Cougar Creek location was chosen.
The report noted the group representing pickleball players indicated they preferred the rink at the old daycare, but due to the uncertainty of the adjacent land, the Cougar Creek rink was selected.
The existing asphalt surface within the rink will require minor surface work to ensure safety with the completion date set for the beginning of June. Once completed, the site will accommodate three pickleball courts.
Regarding the funding for this project, the Town received a New Horizons Grant worth $14,256, which will be sufficient for the required patch work and equipment needed to be purchased.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal program offering grants and contributions that supports projects led or inspired by seniors.
Pickleball is a racquet sport similar in nature to badminton, tennis and table tennis. The court dimensions are the same as what’s normally used for badminton, however, the net is similar to a tennis net, albeit two inches lower.
Players use a hard paddle and the game is played with a polymer wiffle ball. The sport’s name is apparently derived from the original creators, who, in 1965, had a dog named “Pickles” who would often steal the ball during play.
Having the game played at the Cougar Creek rink will increase summer use at a primarily winter use facility, the report noted.