New pickleball courts in the Interlakes area have arrived for the entire community to enjoy.
Chet Powell, the Interlakes Community Centre’s program coordinator, says the idea for new pickleball courts happened three years ago and is growing in popularity.
“There are about 30-40 local players,” said Powell. “It just seems to be picking up more and more; interested people show up, and it keeps growing.”
Pickleball in the Interlakes area began years ago at Bridge Lake Elementary School before moving to the Interlakes Community Centre.
After part-time residents and pickleball enthusiasts John Mortimer and Nicole Robert-Mortimer started playing at the hall in 2018, they took over organizing the pickleball play. As the interest grew, so did the number of players, with many residents wondering what the racket was all about.
The two pickleball players approached Maggie Benzing, the former program coordinator at the community centre, about building two courts on the field outside the hall. It took some convincing, but in 2020, the Board of Directors at the Interlakes Community Centre approved the proposal.
Once the project was approved, team members, community residents, and Interlakes staff got to work. With generous donations from West Fraser Timber, grant money from the Cariboo Regional District (CRD), fundraising, and saved-up funds to put towards the courts everything was going as planned. Craig Charlton, who works in construction, was approached to clear the area and prepare the field for laying asphalt.
Living in a rural area makes finding contractors willing to do a small paving job like the pickleball courts difficult. Volunteers, led by Dolores Casellato, were finally able to secure Key-West Asphalt to complete the job this summer.
Another group of volunteers watered the asphalt for a few days during the hot weather in late August and then chalked, taped, and eventually painted the lines on the courts.
Barb Pearce is a director on the board of the Interlakes Community Centre and says that although residents can start playing on the courts, the project isn’t completely finished.
“We still need to address fencing and a permanent sport surface,” said Pearce.
She said they have spent roughly $40,000 to date, and although there is more work to be done, she is happy to have a new place for people to play. Completed on August 25, Pearce says the Interlakes Community Centre is grateful to the many volunteers who made this project possible.
“We’re very excited to have the courts in the community, and we think it’s going to be great.”
Anyone looking for more information or joining in on the game can contact the Interlakes Community Centre at 250-593-4869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.