The Vernon Pickleball Association has scored a major victory with local government.
The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has agreed in principle to provide the club with a $300,000 grant, and a site in Marshall Fields for a 12 court facility.
Group spokesman Don Friesen says they could have the courts open in three months.
“I suspect, and I really hope, we will have something to show for the BC 55 plus Games (in September). Whether or not they will be completed, I don’t have that answer. There are too many variables, ” Friesen told the media.
Photo: Don Friesen from the Vernon Pickleball Association makes his case at GVAC (Pete McIntyre photo)
The association has over 300 members and not enough courts.
The club will provide the rest of the estimated 600-thousand dollar cost, and will work out an agreement with RDNO for the group to operate the new facility.
The government action came after a staff report that estimated the cost of a pickleball facility at 1.4 million dollars, an estimate RDNO staff got from an engineering firm.
Friesen got the interest of GVAC directors when he stated he could complete the project for far less, about $600,000.
“One of the things that was in that (RDNO estimate) was $400,000 in contingencies. I’ve researched every aspect, and in doing that I was able to present that to contractors and get real numbers, rather than contingency numbers. As well we’ve got in-kind donations, for instance, M and K Redi Mix is giving us $36,000 worth of foundation blocks at no charge — the president plays pickleball.”
Friesen says his group, which has so far raised $53,000 for the facility, also plans to apply for grants, and get sponsors.
“It will show that Vernon is ready to hold some really good tournaments for pickleball and bring a lot of revenue into the community, the same as Funtastic and the 55 Plus Games. We will run tournaments on a regular basis,” adds Friesen.
The price does not include a roof on the facility which would cost another one million dollars.
RDNO would get its $300,000 from short term borrowing or from reserve funds.
About 60 pickleball players packed the RDNO boardroom for Thursday’s GVAC meeting.