Hackett Park Proposal
Update August 10
DoS Council passed the following motion at its August 4th meeting:
That staff be directed to proceed with creating a single shared use tennis/pickleball court and two dedicated pickleball courts at Hackett Park; and that the expenses be included in the 2022 budget deliberation process.
This was not the 4-pickleball court option that the SCPA had proposed and the one supported by 78% of the respondents on the DoS commissioned survey.
In addition to Council supporting Option 3, Mayor Siegers moved an amendment that invited the SCPA to fundraise in support of Option 3. The amendment passed unanimously.
SCPA Director Response to DoS Council
All eight SCPA directors met on August 7, 2021 to discuss our response to the motion Council passed on August 4, 2021 regarding the proposed reconfiguration of the Hackett Park pickleball/tennis courts.
We unanimously opposed the Amended Option 3 passed by Council and strongly requested that Council reconsider Option 4 as presented in the Park Manager’s report.
That staff be directed to proceed with converting one tennis court to four pickleball courts at Hackett Park, as per the Sunshine Coast Pickleball Association’s proposal; and that the expenses be included in the 2022 budget deliberation process.
Why do we support Option 4 vs. Amended Option 3?
It far better serves the pickleball playing public with 4 dedicated courts (vs. 2 in Option 3) as well as the tennis playing public with a dedicated tennis court (vs. a shared pickleball/tennis court in Option 3). Clearly with a survey estimate of a 3 to 1 numbers advantage for pickleball players vs. tennis, pickleball will dominate play on the Option 3 shared court.
As evidenced by the DoS commissioned survey Option 4 is overwhelmingly supported by 78% of the 236 respondents.
The demand for pickleball courts in Sechelt greatly exceeds supply and will grow with the sport. Newcomers and tourists ask via our website about pickleball opportunities. The SCPA has introduced a very successful school program at Kinnikinnick elementary school that will lead to a new generation of pickleball enthusiasts in Sechelt. Other BC communities are far ahead of Sechelt and the Coast in recognizing the demand for pickleball, its contribution to the well-being of the community and its potential to attract newcomers.
All four courts in Option 4 are regulation size and the spacing between and behind each court, while not ideal, is workable and within accepted pickleball standards (reference). We regret very much that we were not afforded the opportunity to comment on this spacing issue prior to it appearing as a concern in the Park Manager’s report. We would now welcome the opportunity to discuss this further and present some possible modifications to our original proposal that would lead to improvements in court spacing.
In court conversions across the continent, four pickleball courts are typically created from a single tennis court.
While SCPA is prepared to engage in fundraising to support Option 4 it strongly encourages Sechelt to explore possible grants for the added costs. Many BC communities such as Cowichan Valley have received as much as $550,000 for pickleball courts from the Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (reference). Prince George is another example with $25,000 from the Federal Government program called “New Horizons for Seniors”. The city of Prince George also contributed $38,000 to the court reconfiguration project (reference). Sechelt and the SCRD in partnership with the SCPA should be much more active in pursuing grant money directed at recreation, tourism and infrastructure projects.
Update May 28
The District of Sechelt has now posted its online survey requesting feedback on our Hackett Park proposal. We encourage all pickleball players on the Coast to complete the survey - it's anonymous and only takes minutes to complete.
Survey closes June 18.
Update May 19
Sechelt Council endorsed the Park Manager recommendation to gather feedback from the public regarding our proposal. Watch for a sign posted at Hackett courts providing details on how to provide the feedback.
When the SCPA learned in early May that the District of Sechelt (DoS) had allocated $24,000 to resurfacing the Hackett Park pickleball/tennis courts, we submitted a proposal on May 6 to DoS to dedicate one court to tennis and convert the other tennis court to 4 dedicated pickleball courts.
On May 14 we were very pleased to learn that our proposal had been reviewed by the Parks Manager (Jayme Anderson) and submitted back to Council for a decision on whether or not to move the proposal forward. Our proposal is Item 10.2 on the May 19 Regular Council Meeting.
Of particular interest in Jayme's report to Council is the summary of the DoS survey responses for court usage where 54% of 125 responses identified pickleball and 22% tennis. Members are encouraged to attend (virtually) the Council meeting - details for attending are on the DoS meeting agenda.
If Council accepts Jayme's recommendation to gather feedback from the public regarding our pickleball proposal, we need you to provide the feedback! As soon as SCPA knows the details regarding the feedback they will be posted here.