B.C. accounts for nearly one-third of all the registered pickleball players in Canada, and in Kelowna demand is so high the local club had to cap membership before the season even started.
A recent message to members from Pickleball Canada registrar Rod Williams said that as of May 30, the total active membership in Pickleball BC surpassed the 10,000 mark. In all of Canada, there are 33,000 members.
3400 new people have signed up with Pickleball BC since the beginning of the year.
“Our sport is growing rapidly, and we all see the need for more and better facilities for our great game,” concluded Williams.
Pickleball Kelowna had to cap its membership at 550 this year, because of the lack of court availability. While it operates the courts at Parkinson Recreation Centre, demand is so high for the rapidly growing sport, that it had to cut off new memberships even before the start of the season on May 1.
“Our current 12 court facility leaves out the parents who want to teach their kids to play, the grandparents doing the same, the experts, the novices and everyone in between,” said club registrar and tournament director Carly Penfold.
Redevelopment of the Parkinson site could also impact the existing courts, so PKC is working with the City of Kelowna to plan a new facility. The club would like to see 20 outdoor and eight indoor courts, preferably still at the PRC site.
Not only would a new facility give local players more court time, it could also attract national and international events.
“The 28 courts would enable Kelowna to once again host the annual Pickleball Canada National Championships. Kelowna has hosted several times in the past, but we are no longer eligible to host due to the number and quality of our courts. Our facility just does not stack up,” said Penfold.
She adds that PKC is setting its sights high and aiming to host a national championship at a new Pickleball Kelowna Community Centre in the not too distant future.