The racquet sport courts in Oliver, B.C., are getting a facelift. The outdoor facility is being updated to meet the growing needs of the local pickleball community.

“We’re very excited that this is happening, and we are so glad that the city of Oliver has taken this sport under its wing and decided to upgrade it,” said the Oliver Pickleball Club president Rickard Sullivan.

The three-court outdoor facility has been shared between tennis and pickleball players for years but the pickleball players have outgrown the space.

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“We started out with about 50 or 60 and it’s been growing exponentially. I think we have about 130 members now,” said the Oliver Pickleball Club former president Blaine Watson.

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“We have had to share the courts with the tennis club which has been a very nice arrangement for many, many years but since we have so many members the demand for space on the courts has grown along with the club membership. We anticipate with the dedicated courts now the membership will double or triple overnight.”

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Pickleball courts are traditionally smaller than tennis courts. Up until now, the pickleball players have been using portable nets and makeshift lines on the tennis courts.

“We are expanding the court surface that we have here out towards the hill to allow for a dedicated pickleball facility,” said Oliver Parks and Recreation manager Carol Sheridan.

“So, in addition to our three beautiful tennis courts, we will also have four pickleball courts.”

According to Sheridan, the project has been in discussion for nearly four years.

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Crews began preparation for new pavement at the east end of the court on Monday. The repairs and resurfacing will be completed shortly after.

“We are actually going to have all of our courts resurfaced so they can be beautiful for another 20 years,” said Sheridan.

New perimeter fencing, nets, court dividers, and paint will also be added. The project is expected to be completed at the end of May or early June.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $140,000 and some of the funds were raised by the local pickleball and tennis community. The Oliver Pickleball Club fundraising chairman Gordon Reid and local resident Janet Shaw helped lead the fundraising efforts.

“We got big support from our local members of both the pickleball and tennis club. As well as the local community. Our merchants helped us out immensely,” said Reid.

The group raised close to $40,000 and the Canada Health Communities Initiative provincial program grant also contributed towards the project, with an additional $42,000.

The remaining funds will come from the approved 2022 Oliver Parks and Recreation capital financial plan.

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