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More space needed for pickleball in Kelowna

Kelowna has 2nd largest pickleball club in province
(Unsplash/File photo)

Over 100 people are on the waiting list to gain membership to Pickleball Kelowna, and city staff are looking at ways to combat that issue in the future.

A Long-term Parks Planning Initiative is to be presented to city council at the April 17 regular meeting, outlining the rapid growth of racquet sports locally, and the need for more courts in the future.

In 2015, city staff created the Kelowna Tennis Strategy, which read that there was to be one public tennis court per 4,180 population to accommodate players. Currently, there are 26 city tennis courts in Kelowna, 12 pickleball courts, one club-operated facility and one private facility.

Under the new initiative, nine more pickleball courts are set to open this season along with three new tennis courts, located at Glenmore Recreation Park and DeHart Community Park. More opportunity for indoor play is also being looked into.

“Even with these additions, supply of courts will still not meet current user needs,” reads a planning document on council’s agenda.

With 600 members, Kelowna has the second-largest pickleball club in B.C. Membership last season sold out in 15 minutes. Okanagan Mission Tennis, which boasts around 400 members, is already sold out for 2023.

Looking to the future, the initiative’s goals consist of more opportunities to host racquet sport tournaments, athlete development, and improved wait times.

“It is of note, that Kelowna has lost provincial and national hosting opportunities as the city does not meet the minimal numbers of sport courts to be considered for further pickleball and tennis tournaments,” reads the document. “Others in the valley have been quick to capitalize on the opportunity to host these types of sporting events.”

More ‘satellite hubs’ are also being considered across the city, defined as facilities that offer more court hours, but may have less amenities than those at feature courts.

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Jake Courtepatte

About the Author: Jake Courtepatte

Editor of Kelowna Capital News & West K News since February 2022. I have spent the majority of my career working in the Toronto area as both a sports reporter and a general reporter.
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