A new agreement with the Shuswap Recreation Society gives members of the Salmon Arm Pickleball Club exclusive use of the Klahani Pickleball courts for 17 hours per week. (File photo)

Council supports user agreement for pickleball courts

Fees give local club exlusive use of Klahani courts for 17 hours per week

An agreement between the Salmon Arm Pickleball Club and the Shuswap Recreation Society is expected to smooth out bumps over use of the Klahani Pickleball courts.

The agreement gives the club exclusive use of the park’s six pickleball courts between 9 a.m. and noon every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 5 p.m. to dusk on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from May 1 to Sept. 30. In addition, the club will have exclusive playing privileges on the Klahani courts for one weekend each season to accommodate tournaments.

The club will also be allowed to place a container at the park for storage of equipment used to maintain the courts, and will be provided a room at the recreation centre once per season for meetings.

In return, the club is to pay the society an annual fee of $50 per player. Based on current membership, this comes to about $4,000.

“We have compared these fees and benefits with other regional municipalities and we feel they are a good compromise for both the club and the community of Salmon Arm,” writes Shuswap Recreation Society general manager Darby Boyd in a letter to city council.

At its regular meeting last Monday, council passed a motion to support the agreement based on the advice of city administrator Carl Bannister.

“It’s technically not necessary because the recreation society has the ability to handle this, but I would say it wouldn’t hurt in this case because it’s such a political issue,” said Bannister.

Speaking to the motion, Coun. Kevin Flynn, the city’s representative on the recreation society board, commented that, in his opinion, the negotiation leading up to the agreement went on way too long, and was more complicated than it should have been.

“I commend Darby for all his negotiation skills, and maybe he can work with the U.S. and North Korea to get back at the table,” said Flynn. “All kidding aside… I see 17 hours in a week being dedicated to a club that is going to help maintain the courts, that is going to make sure they’re being actively utilized, and is hopefully developing players and getting people active. So, as much as it’s been difficult, I think this is a great compromise, and I just think it’s a matter of communicating to the people that may have the wrong information that it’s not that expensive and if they want to play at those times, they can join the club.”

Flynn later added the agreement with the club is no different from other groups being able to rent the city pool or soccer fields.

Coun. Alan Harrison said the agreement helps solve a problem around use of a public facility by one user group. He suggested that in the future, council look at adding additional pickleball courts at that location.

“I think we see how this goes and, at least from my perspective, come budget time, if it looks like it’s something we want to continue, I’d be willing to look at perhaps funding of two more courts out there which would be on the other side of the fence and could be designated as public courts, perhaps not a part of this deal,” said Harrison.


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lachlan@saobserver.net

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