Will the city make a major investment in new pickleball facilities?
Councilors in Barrie are due to make some sort of decision on March 21.
On Monday evening, council asked staff to investigate and report on the possibility of developing eight, 12 or 14 new pickleball courts at Painswick Park at the general committee meeting on that date.
This was after returning to staff a motion for a new $1.3 million pickleball facility with 14 standard professional courts at the Barrie Community Sports Complex, located just north of the town of Midhurst in the former nursery.
Com. Mike McCann says the new courts should be in Barrie because people are going out of town to Orillia and Newmarket to play pickleball because that city doesn’t have enough courts.
“I think having between 12 and 16 pickleball courts in an area so it’s tournament ready then we can put Barrie, Ontario on the pickleball map and we have all the right players in place to make it happen. “, he said BarrieToday Tuesday.
Painswick Park already has four pickleball courts and is located on the corner of Big Bay Point Road and Ashford Drive in the south of the city.
McCann also said he thinks the new courts will cost less than $1.3 million.
“I think they (city staff) are going to find efficiencies and they’re going to look at some of the tennis courts they’ve built and they’re going to be able to have a lighter, more efficient way of building. the pickleball courts,” he said.
Council also approved a motion Monday evening that an outdoor racquet sports strategy, providing direction on outdoor pickleball and tennis recreation facilities throughout the city, be included in the budget for 2023 Capital Assets for Board review.
“While there is interest in a large formal facility for pickleball…being able to do that will help guide both the board and the staff workload on what we plan for this type of pickleball system. recreational facility courts,” Coun said. Ann-Marie Kungl.
Michelle Banfield, director of city development services, said the strategy was needed.
“We don’t have a strategy for outdoor racquet sports and that’s why we would need to make one,” she said.
McCann said he did not expect the March 21 report to include information about a dome.
“The motion did not ask for a dome,” he said. “Once I saw the costs of a dome, I absolutely rejected it. There is no business case.
The Feb. 28 staff report on 14 new pickleball courts at the Barrie Community Sports Complex has a capital cost of $1.294 million. With a dome, this capital cost increases to $3.965 million. — addition of the dome structure, interior lighting, mechanical equipment, concrete foundation for the level beam, auxiliary structure of the dome and site works.
The case for a dome was presented by John Wellar, owner of Barrie North Winter Tennis, who says it doesn’t make sense to spend money on new pickleball courts that can only be used for four months per year.
Founded in 2003, Barrie North Winter Tennis has entered into a partnership agreement with Springwater Township for its outdoor tennis courts in Midhurst, covering them with a dome from October until the end of April. Wellar says a dome also helps protect the courts from winter weather, which can cause them to creak and heave.
At this point, the funding source for the new pickleball courts is the city’s reinvestment reserve of $3.3 million. — minus the $650,000 already targeted for pickleball courts. This reserve is funded by Alectra’s dividends from Barrie Hydro Holdings.
McCann said he expects a majority of councilors to support the new pickleball courts in Barrie.
“I absolutely believe it will be approved,” he said. “I don’t think it will pass unanimously.”
The city offers walk-in pickleball sessions at various community centers across Barrie. There are dedicated courts in Red Path and Painswick parks, shared courts in Greenfield, Sandringham and Strabane parks. In total, the city has 11 existing pickleball courts in its parks, with six dedicated pickleball courts and five shared-use courts.
The city plans to build four more dedicated pickleball courts at Eastview Community Park to have a total of 15 courts by 2022.
Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis/ping pong. It is played with a racket and wiffleball, a perforated plastic ball, on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Pickleball can be played doubles or singles and by all ages and skill levels, both for recreation and as a social activity.
The Barrie Pickleball Club said it has about 450 members in and around the city.