Players make a racket year-round

by Mar 2022Community, Sport, Vernon

Pickleball passion pushes fundraising to new heights in Vernon

Pickleball, a dynamic racquet sport combining tennis, badminton and ping pong is trending in the Okanagan. The fast-paced competitive game plays out on a badminton-sized court (indoors or outdoors) with the net lowered to 34 inches at the centre. 
Membership grew at Pickleball Kelowna, with the dedicated outdoor courts at Parkinson Recreation Centre fully booked through spring and summer. The Kelowna Curling Club got into the action, transforming their ice surface into ten pickleball courts.

In Vernon, court play is a year-round endeavour. Now home to the largest dedicated, all-season complex of its kind in Canada, the Vernon Pickleball Association (VPA) “raised the roof” on their outdoor courts in 2020.

Building a structure of this size takes coordination — and funds. “This project happened because the VPA members personally contributed over $1.2 million to pay the capital cost,” says Rob Irving, chair of the building committee. 

“Over 250 members purchased debentures, made donations and pre-paid playing fees to ensure this facility would become a reality.”

The Quonset-style structure incorporates steel trusses and a fabric covering. The roof reaches over 16 and a half metres and contains more than 3,620 sq. m. of fabric and 56 tonnes of steel in the roof supports. 

The commitment of the members did not go unnoticed by VPA president Pat Andrews. 

“The entire project is an example of extra-ordinary teamwork made possible by the many VPA volunteers, coordinated by Don Friesen, who brought their relevant skills, expertise, and financial support,” says Pat.  “An endless number of volunteer hours contributed to the success of this project, but without Don’s initial vision, none of this would have happened.”

While easy for beginners to pick up, gameplay can quickly develop into a fast-paced, competitive sport with a bit of experience. Regardless of skill level, Pickleball BC extolls the benefits of faster reflexes, quickness of mind, and the stimulation of specific portions of the brain that few other sports do.

“What this facility means for players of all abilities is that they can play in ideal conditions year-round in a complex that was designed and constructed just for the sport of pickleball,” says Anne Longley, chair of the VPA public relations committee.

“There are no more excuses such as wind or sun in your eyes if you don’t make your shot!”  

Winter 2022 Trends Magazine

  • Billed once per year until cancelled

  • Billed once per year until cancelled