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Pickleball players ask TBM for more courts

Council has asked staff to report back on opportunities for expanding the number of courts available to residents
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The Town of The Blue Mountains is going to look at opportunities to expand the pickleball facilities it has available to the public.

At its meeting on Jan. 23, council received a deputation from local pickleball enthusiast Lorraine Doherty, who requested that the town consider options to expand available pickleball facilities. The town currently has outdoor pickleball courts at the Tomahawk Recreation Complex, which close during the winter months, and has indoor courts at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.

Doherty said the popularity of pickleball continues to grow and said the biggest barriers to playing locally are available court time and waiting lists.

“By every measure, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in North America,” she said.

Doherty said she recently conducted a pickleball survey that received more than 300 responses in order to gather data about the needs in the community.

She said the survey revealed 200-250 local residents are waiting to get court time and there is support for more courts.

“What they really said was: 'give us more courts',” she said. “There are a lot of people in the community who would like to work with council. There is lots of interest from the public.”

After Doherty’s deputation, council voted 5-0 (Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Coun. Shawn McKinlay were absent to attend the ROMA conference in Toronto) to have staff explore expanded pickleball opportunities and report back to council.

“The need for pickleball is enormous,” said Coun. Paula Hope. “We need to explore next steps so we can find out what the numbers are and what the dollars are.”

Ryan Gibbons, director of community services, said town staff will be looking at opportunities for more pickleball capacity. Gibbons said the town will be preparing a multi-recreational feasibility study this year and pickleball will be part of that process.

“We know pickleball is an important activity for many residents in the community,” he said.

Gibbons said the town has already reached out to potential partners, including neighbouring municipalities, to explore pickleball opportunities.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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