Big summer for Cowichan’s pickleball community

A pickleball demonstration at the grand opening of the Shawnigan Lake pickleball courts on June 25. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)A pickleball demonstration at the grand opening of the Shawnigan Lake pickleball courts on June 25. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dignitaries cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Shawnigan Lake pickleball courts on June 25. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Dignitaries cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Shawnigan Lake pickleball courts on June 25. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Area B director Sierra Acton speaks at the opening of the Kerry Park pickleball courts on July 4. (Submitted by South Cowichan Recreation)Area B director Sierra Acton speaks at the opening of the Kerry Park pickleball courts on July 4. (Submitted by South Cowichan Recreation)
Owen Seeton of Cobble Hill competes in the pickleball tournament at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre on June 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Owen Seeton of Cobble Hill competes in the pickleball tournament at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre on June 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Pickleball lovers in the Cowichan Valley were blessed in late June and early July with the opening of two new facilities in the South Cowichan area.

A grand opening was held for four new courts in Shawnigan Lake on June 25, and another six new courts were inaugurated at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre on July 4.

”The popularity of pickleball has skyrocketed in recent years, capturing the interest of people of all ages and fitness levels,” commented Laurie Vasey of the Shawnigan Lake Pickleball club. “The game has been described as a mix of tennis, ping-pong and badminton. It’s easy to learn, fun to play and highly addictive, making it one of the fastest growing sports in North America.”

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau and CVRD area directors Sierra Acton were among the many onlookers at the ribbon-cutting for the new Shawnigan Lake facility, which is located on the grounds of the Cowichan Cricket & Sports Club on Elford Road. The South Cowichan Rotary Club Foundation helped supply funding for the courts.

Nearly 100 people participated in the festivities, which included a free barbecue, a raffle, pickleball demonstration games, and a test of pickleball skills with several prizes on the line. GRUVN donated two paddles valued at $350, while Courtside Sports in Victoria and Cobble Hill Country Grocer each provided $100 in gift certificates, and R-Harn Thai Eatery donated three free lunches. The Shawnigan Lake Pickleball Club provided one free membership, worth $200, and club member Krista Hill donated a handmade driftwood centrepiece. Thrifty Foods also donated several jars of pickles as prizes.

The new facility at Kerry Park opened just a few days too late for a tournament that was held indoors in the curling rink. The facility includes six outdoor courts, a picnic area and a perimeter walking trail.

The overall budget for the Kerry Park project was $744,500, 80 per cent of which was covered through grant funding, including $550,000 from B.C.’s Community Economic Resilience Stream, and $30,000 from the Canadian Community Building Fund.

The Kerry Park courts are open for free play, or can be booked online for guaranteed times at a nominal fee. The South Cowichan Pickleball Club is organizing club play once a week.

For more information about the club, visit southcowichanpickleball.org

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