Pickleball asks for cash

The Vernon Pickleball Association has been hard at work on its $1.4 million, 12-court facility at Marshall Field which, it's hoped, will open next spring.

While the odds were against them when they started pre-construction, members of the group overcame some major difficulties at the site in order to make it work.

“We discovered that it had an awful lot of work that needed to be done (once the project broke ground),” admitted project manager Don Friesen, during a presentation to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee on Thursday. “When we ran into all of these services we had to deal with, we just went to work because there was no other opportunity. We had to make it work.”

The work to ready the site turned into an enormous job with a high price tag.

“Altogether we had to do about 2,000 feet of trenching and 2,000 feet of mainline irrigation and hydro lines and that kind of stuff, all of this before we could go to work,” said Friesen.

He said the volunteer effort worked so well that his team was offered future hydro contracts if they were willing.

“We did it well and we did it right.”

Despite countless hours put in by volunteers, the bill amounted to $95,000 for:

  • Hydro $44,259
  • Irrigation $20,741
  • Fire hydrant $30,000

The association has asked for reimbursement of the money from the North Okanagan Regional District.

But the VPA is expected to bear much of the cost of building the actual facility.

Association treasurer Rick Sluggett said they would be looking for sponsorship from local business. They also expect to attract big tournaments to Vernon that would raise more cash.

Friesen is hopeful the facility will be up and running in the spring, as the association is being overwhelmed with new players.

“We are growing. It's crazy. We don't know what to do this winter. We've shut down training.”

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