Sooke councillors are eyeing the possibility of adding at least three pickleball courts adjacent to the new multi-use sports box facility at 2430 Phillips Rd.
Councillors are asking the SEAPARC Commission for recommendations and ways to fund the facility.
“The demand is so great for courts,” said Marilyn Erickson, a spokesperson for the Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group. “We’ve got 175 members and so few places to play.”
The group currently plays at the Art Morris Park courts, but those courts are less than ideal, Erickson said.
Pickleball is a mash-up of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It can be played by singles or in pairs, either indoors or outside. Like many racquet sports, the aim is to get the ball over the net and prevent your opponent from hitting it back.
Erickson said the sports box isn’t optimal for pickleball because of the cement foundation, temporary lines for the playing area and constant setup and takedown.
Coun. Al Beddows, who is also SEAPARC chairman, pointed out that an area next to the facility could be levelled at no extra costs for new pickleball courts when the sports box construction begins. There would still be construction costs.
“There is a location for it at SEAPARC, and we’re very much in favour of proceeding,” he said.
The Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group sought dedicated pickleball courts for years, especially as other Island communities expanded their offerings to the sport.
Funding for the project could be multi-pronged, Beddows said, with a cost agreement between Sooke, SEAPARC and possibly the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Grants from senior governments would be pursued.
Coun. Tony St-Pierre suggested reaching out to the Sooke School District to see if they would be interested in a partnership. He said then courts could be in various neighbourhoods.
Beddows said it could take more than four years before the pickleball courts open at the sports box.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but it might be the way we want to go,” he said.