The District of West Vancouver is set to welcome a state-of-the-art sporting facility that will be home to six tennis courts and covered pickleball courts. The proposed facility will be housed in an inflated dome located in the southeast corner of Hugo Ray Park. The District Council and Tennis BC have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines the details of the proposed construction, which will be managed and run by the sporting organization. Under the agreement, the facility will be open to the public 85 percent of the time.
During a recent council meeting, Mayor Mark Sager expressed his excitement about the new facility, noting that it will serve as a training ground for young athletes. He went on to describe the facility as a great amenity to the community and the neighborhood, adding that it will put West Vancouver on the map as a place for all sports and all people.
While the details of the facility are still being finalized, Tennis BC President Rick Hastings has confirmed that the organization plans to model the new tennis bubble after their successful Tennis BC Hub @ Richmond facility, where they rent out courts for about $28-35 per hour. The goal is to make the facility accessible to all, regardless of their club memberships.
Hastings confirmed that they have done a site walkaround with district staff and tennis officials, and the site appears to be feasible. With the memorandum of understanding signed, they can now proceed with more detailed planning and council approvals before going to tender for construction. The intention is to get people playing tennis as soon as possible, he said.
District staff had already been working on plans for new pickleball courts at Hugo Ray Park. With the new facility, tensions between tennis players and pickleballers, who often compete for limited court space, will be eased. Hastings noted that Tennis BC was happy to accommodate pickleball into the plans, with the intention of providing six covered all-weather courts, designed in consultation with the local pickleball community.
While the pickleball courts will not be housed under the same bubble as the tennis courts, Hastings said that the organization is enthusiastic about providing space for the sport. He acknowledged the growing popularity of pickleball and the high demand for courts. The North Shore Tennis Society has already issued a statement enthusiastically welcoming the new facility, noting that it is a great day for tennis in West Vancouver. Society president Duncan Brown expressed thanks to Sager and the council, as well as those funding the proposal. Society vice-president Marcus Shapiro also welcomed the inclusion of their court rivals, noting that the organization had worked closely with the West Vancouver picklers.
What is Pickleball and How is it Different Than Tennis?
Pickleball is a fast-paced, paddle-based sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s a relatively new game that has rapidly gained popularity, particularly among older adults and those looking for a low-impact alternative to tennis.
The game is played on a court that is roughly one-third the size of a tennis court and is divided by a low net. Players use paddles, which are similar in size and shape to those used in ping-pong, to hit a perforated ball, which is slightly larger than a tennis ball. Like tennis, the objective is to hit the ball over the net and land it within the boundaries of the opponent’s court, while preventing them from doing the same.
The name “pickleball” is said to have come from the sport’s inventor’s dog, Pickles, who would chase after the ball during early games. The sport was created in 1965 by three dads on Bainbridge Island, Washington, who were looking for a way to entertain their families on a lazy summer afternoon.
One of the main differences between pickleball and tennis is the speed of the game. Because the court is smaller and the ball is lighter, pickleball is generally played at a slower pace than tennis. The serving player must keep one foot behind the baseline, and the serve must be made underhand, which further slows the game down.
Another key difference is the strategy involved. In pickleball, players often play at the net, where quick reflexes and agility are essential. The paddles used in pickleball also allow for more precise shots than those used in tennis, making it easier to hit the ball where you want it to go.
While pickleball may not be as physically demanding as tennis, it still requires a great deal of skill and can be a challenging workout. The smaller court and slower pace of the game can also make it a more accessible sport for those who may struggle with the physical demands of tennis.
Overall, pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that is gaining popularity among people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned tennis player looking for a new challenge or a beginner looking for a fun way to stay active, pickleball is definitely worth trying out.
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