As our thoughts turn to summer, the return to club play for the 2021 outdoor season remains uncertain and is dependent on the success of COVID cases being contained. If club play resumes, it will undoubtedly look different because of the varied and positive experiences of open play this past summer. Both OPC and POPS are planning an Annual General Meetings in the spring to adopt a format of play for the outdoor season.
Unfortunately, what will remain the same is our courts. Following a strong endorsement from city council to begin court construction as soon as possible – for summer 2021 completion, the project was delayed. The first cause of the delay was that the city engineering report recommended a complete tear down of the tennis courts. The existing allocated funds will not cover this expenditure. Also, in early summer, the city applied for a federal grant that included several projects in the park, including, refurbished pickleball courts. The grant application resulted in a further delay in construction beginning.
The grant is a comprehensive park improvement endeavor that will serve the pickleball community and the general public well into the future. A condition within the grant is that no work can begin until a decision on the grant is made. At the earliest, whether the grant is approved or not, court refurbishing will not begin until late summer 2021 or early spring 2022.
The city has assured us that refurbishing the courts remains a city priority, and we continue to enjoy a supportive and collaborative relationship with city council and staff.
We are looking forward to the possibility of returning to a “new look” to club play in 2021, and all of the park enhancements that are planned by the city. When the work is finally completed Parksville and the surrounding area will have access to a pickleball center in a fully service park that will provide many opportunities for a variety of pickleball events. The wait will be well worth the end result.
Be safe, Stay safe, play safe!
Keith Hosking, President, OPC
John Kuzbik, President, POPS
June 2020 Update. Return to Safe Play Plan
Throughout the past months, your executive has met to determine the direction POPS will take to return to club play. The Provincial Health Office, VIASPORT, Regional District of Nanaimo, City of Parksville, and Pickleball BC guidelines must be incorporated in our Safe Return to Play Plan.
After many conversations and written communication with city officials, RDN staff, pickleball players and viewing the safe return to play of other clubs in BC, we decided that POPS will not begin club play on June 26. This is the date where permission to begin club play has been granted by the province and city of Parksville, following the submission of a return to safe play plan with VIASPORT BC.
The executive has made the decision to delay the start of club play and monitor the direction of the Provincial Health Office, VIASPORT BC, and how phase three of opening BC has affected the number of COVID-19 infections in BC, the island in particular, over the next three to four weeks. Delaying club play will provide us with an opportunity to determine if developing A Safe Return to Play Plan can be compliant with the provincial guidelines and managed in a format that is engaging and fully embraced by all members.
Many players are participating in casual play in the Parksville Community Park and other locations. Please refer to the VIASPORT BC, RDN and the City of Parksville links for return to safe play guidelines. Be safe!
John Kuzbik (President POPS)