Osoyoos resident pitches ball hitting wall for town youth

Another brick in the wall

Yanor believes that children and youth are in need of inexpensive or cost-free outdoor play spaces that are, if not specifically for them, at least actively welcoming of their presence. He worries that the aging population of Osoyoos may lead to over-focus on activities for seniors and leave young people in the lurch.

The answer, in his view, is to build a ball hitting wall – a large, bare wooden wall with a flat expanse in front of it where people can practice everything from throwing a ball to swinging a racquet without having to take up lessons or join potentially expensive clubs.

Yanor hopes that it could be one simple solution for what he describes as a complex and growing risk to the mental and physical wellness of local youth.

“The children of our town have been isolated during our never-ending pandemic, as we never were,” said Yanor. “Their mental health is under siege, due to too little physical activity and too much screen activity . . . bullying and corrosive social media, along with the intensifying social pressures from the pandemic.”

“What’s the one simple activity any youngster can play at that requires no more than a ball, any kind of racquet and a wall? Just hitting a ball against a wall.”

Yanor envisions a five-court wall on the north side of Osoyoos’s tennis courts, utilizing a flat patch of land that is owned by the town and in close proximity to the high school. He believes that the space is large enough to avoid any negative impact on the tennis and pickleball courts and its natural berm would eliminate the need for a back fence.

His vision also extends further than the youth who are in need of affordable physical activities, though they are the group that inspired him.

“Recreational facilities don’t come cheap,” said Yanor, “but a good hitting wall with five mini-courts could accommodate children, pickleball and tennis players warming up, practicing strokes, rehabbing seniors, wheelchair athletes. Schools, elementary and high school, could add the hitting wall to the curriculum for a pittance.”

He estimates that the project would only cost around $100,000 for supplies and work and hopes that its small scale, both in price and effort, will allow the town to fast-track development in time for this summer or the next.

There used to be such a space available to the general public but it was converted into a pickleball court seven years ago, and since that time nobody has stepped up to offer or fight for a replacement. In taking on that role, Yanor has clearly found his cause.

Councillor Jim King confirmed after Yanor’s presentation that he will pass on the letter to Osoyoos’s Director of Community Services, Gerald Davis.

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