Letter to the Kerry Park Recreation Commission Regarding Site Plan for the New Courts

March 3, 2021

To:  Kerry Park Recreation Commission

From:  South Cowichan Pickleball Club

Dear Commission Members,

We can’t begin to express how pleased we are with the Province’s decision to approve a CERIP grant to develop a pickleball complex at Kerry Park.  The approval is a credit to the CVRD / Kerry Park staff who worked diligently to put together the successful grant application in a short turn around period. 

The support we have received from the Commission with regard to our pickleball vision has been outstanding.   From the attendance at numerous meetings, to the letter in the South Cowichan Life magazine getting the word out to the broader community, to the site visits made by a number of Commission members, to the phone calls from us that most Commission members would have fielded at some time or other:  all leading to a successful outcome.

With funding secure, the planning and development phase is now in progress.  On February 23rd we received a briefing from Kim Liddle the Manager of the Kerry Park site, with regard to the initial site plan as well as planned guidelines for the development of newly constructed pickleball courts in the CVRD.  We were impressed by both the site plan and the guidelines, and appreciated the time and effort that would have gone into both.  We are of the opinion, that with a few minor tweaks, this complex will be the measure by which all other courts on the Island will be judged.

Based on what we saw of the site plan we have a few initial recommendations:

  • To allow easy access to all courts, without interfering with games in progress, we recommend a walkway between the courts.

  • Stray balls interfering with play on neighbouring courts is the bane of all pickleball players, therefore we recommend fencing between the courts.

  • In the summer shade is required to cool off between games, therefore we recommend shade areas be made available both inside the perimeter of the courts (possibly located on the recommended walkway) and on the exterior (e.g. on a patio).

  • Because different areas of the court restrict the types of shots that can be made, a visual differentiation of the areas makes the game more enjoyable.  Therefore we recommend that the service boxes are a different colour from the non-volley zone area.

  • Finally, as age demographics were one of the one of the main factors influencing the decision to proceed, the type of court surfacing needs to be considered.  Court cushioning can reduce stress on joints and reduce injury for all players but is increasingly important for senior players.  There is, however, a trade-off between the amount of cushioning and how the ball bounces.  Therefore we recommend a court surface that finds a balance between maximum cushioning and minimum impact on the bounce of the ball be installed.

 

This list is not exhaustive but does hit some of the major points.  To get a “few more eyes” on the proposed plan there are a number of people in the local pickleball community, who have either developed courts in other locations or have played at a significant number of locations around North America, whose input into design would be an asset.  These include:

  • Paul and Sally Bland from Maple Bay who run a successful pickleball resort in Baja California.

  • Ken Holman from Chemainus, one of the Islands top ranked players and President of the Vancouver Island Pickleball Assn.

  • Claudia McLean from Chemainus, one of the top ranked players on the Island and a veteran of many tournaments throughout North America.

We are eager to assist in any way that we can to ensure this project meets and exceeds community expectations!

Thank-you again and best regards,

Rick Hollingworth, Laurie Vasey and Brian Johnson

Directors, South Cowichan Pickleball Club

 

cc:         Kim Liddle

             Manager, South Cowichan Recreation