The popularity of pickleball has the Town of The Blue Mountains is creating a space crunch in the winter when the sport goes indoors.

At its committee of the whole meeting on June 29, council voted in favour of a staff report that will examine options for adding extra pickleball courts as the town’s studies the feasibility of a multi-use recreation facility.

Ryan Gibbons, the town’s director of community services, said that the town has plenty of pickleball space during the summer months when outdoor courts are available. However, during the winter months the number of courts is reduced, which creates capacity issues.

“The challenge is the winter months,” said Gibbons.

In the winter, the town’s pickleball capacity drops from six courts down to two as the arena floor is in use during skating/hockey/curling season.

The town is currently studying the possibility of building a multi-use recreation facility for the community, possibly located at the Campus of Care site at 125 Peel Street. Staff recommended including pickleball capacity as part of that study.

Council was supportive of the recommendation and approved the resolution unanimously in a 4-0 vote (Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon had departed the meeting due to Grey County commitments and Coun. June Porter was absent).

Coun. Alex Maxwell said it would be important for the town to be flexible on pickleball. Maxwell noted that he had recently read stories about pickleball being the fastest-growing sport in Canada, but also stated concerns it could turn into the next racquetball.

“We should keep that scenario in mind,” said Maxwell.

Gibbons said if the town proceeded with a pickleball facility in the future, it would be designed with flexibility in mind.

“We don’t want to overbuild. We don’t want to build something we can’t use in the future,” said Gibbons. “It would be a facility that allows it to be modified.”

Coun. Paula Hope, a pickleball player and enthusiast, said she doubted the sport was a passing “fad.” Hope noted that Canada’s population is aging and tennis becomes too demanding as citizens get older.

“To be able to pick up a racquet and still be on the court is amazing,” said Hope, who said there is enormous interest in the community in expanding the number of courts the town operates. “There is a lot of political, social and financial will to make this happen.”

By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 30, 2023 at 17:00

This item reprinted with permission from   Collingwood, Ontario
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