Nanoose Bay residents are asking to play racquet sports at their only outdoor recreational facility.
Residents say Jack Bagley Park has deteriorated and is no longer used for any recreational or sporting events. They want the community park redeveloped to include racquet sports facilities such as tennis and pickleball.
Ken Collingwood made this plea on behalf of more than 150 racquet sports enthusiasts in Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay), who signed a petition that was presented to the electoral areas services committee at its meeting on Nov. 26.
Nanoose residents who want to play tennis or pickleball have to travel to Parksville or Nanaimo. With transit services only provided on a limited scale, Collingwood said there is no other viable means other than driving their own vehicles.
“This can be very expensive and is also harmful to the environment,” said Collingwood.
Pickleball, Collingwood said, is the fastest-growing sport in North America. Parksville, he said, has two pickleball clubs with one having more than 200 members.
“They outstrip the available court venues,” said Collingwood.
The Regional District of Nanaimo, said Collingwood, has an opportunity to build courts for Nanoose residents.
The RDN’s parks and trail strategic plan’s primary goal is to provide social and recreational opportunities for its residents and tennis and pickleball are “highly social sports and will be a major step to fulfilling this plan,” according to Collingwood.
The Jack Bagley Community Park redevelopment project Phase 1 will include hard surface courts, a washroom building, an accessible entrance to the park along Powder Point Road, an upgraded access to Nanoose Place, and enhanced circulation around the courts. The timeline for implementation is over two years: construction documentation during 2020 with constructed works for Phase 1 in 2021.
The project has also received support from the Nanoose Bay Lions Club, Nanoose Bay Elementary School and the Nanoose Bay Activities and Recreation Society.
Electoral Area E director Bob Rogers made motion that pending approval from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, that the request for Electoral Area E community works funds of up to $1,173,500 for Jack Bagley Community Park Phase 1 development be applied to the project in the following ways: $85,000 in 2020 for professional fees to complete the construction and tender documents; and $1,088,500 in 2021 for construction costs and professional fees during the construction period.
The committee endorsed the motion for the RDN board’s consideration.