Free pickleball takes customers

Tony Barnard and family would like to see a fairer system set up governing pickleball locally.

Tony Barnard and family would like to see a fairer system set up governing pickleball locally.

In a letter to council, the Barnards, who own Club Shuswap Golf and RV Ltd., requested that when the city is developing the Klahani Park Master Plan, it consider charging a drop-in fee.

The letter pointed out that Club Shuswap spent significant dollars preparing a full pickleball venue and has hosted successful tournaments attracting more than 60 participants to the area. Since the city introduced free pickleball, Club Shuswap has experienced a large drop in court usage.

Barnard says with the increasing popularity of pickleball, there’s an opportunity for growth and for working together.

City council discussed the letter at its Jan. 11 meeting. Coun. Kevin Flynn said he uses the free courts, appreciates Club Shuswap’s position but isn’t sure what the solution is.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of public works, said the recreation society books the ball fields, so the city would have the ability to charge.

Coun. Alan Harrison suggested the city charges a fee for pickleball tournaments. Coun. Ken Jamieson said the city has to provide an opportunity to play for those who can’t afford a fee. Jamieson encouraged discussion of the issue during the process of creating the Klahani Park Master Plan.


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