Almost every time you drive by the Nose Creek courts, there are people playing this particular sport. It’s the fastest growing sport in North America, and pickleball certainly has quite the popularity in Airdrie.
Norm Vienneau, the President of the Airdrie Pickleball Club observed that there are now hundreds of active pickleballers.
“We have over 300 members on the Facebook group. The actual number of members that have joined the club is over 155 members.”
According to Vienneau, the game could grow even faster, but the one problem hindering it is the lack of courts Airdrie has.
Some days at the courts, you may encounter 10 to 15 people waiting to play as the courts are occupied. In the evenings, you will see all kinds of different families outside enjoying the weather, just batting the ball around.
“The city was good enough to give us an outdoor hockey rink that we painted four courts on. We now have club round robins over at Monklands. We will see an average of 18 players there during the day and then there's an additional that many over in the nose Creek courts.”
Hence the Airdrie Pickleball Club is looking to establish a playing area of 16 to 20 courts.
“We feel that with all the courts in one spot, beginners and novice players can play amongst themselves with an advanced player there to guide them to help further their games. I think that a larger facility would allow everybody to have some play time without feeling intimidated, that they're going to be playing with people that are way better than they are and they just don't have the chance to enjoy the game.”
According to Vienneau, the city [Parks and Recreations Department] has not given them any locations where they might be able to make a new court at this time. Airdrie Pickleball Club offered the city three or four locations that they thought would suit pickleball, and none of them were in the city's purview.
“We want to keep our Pickleball courts away from a residential area because there is a noise factor that most people forget about.”
The city was unavailable to comment on the matter at the time of publication.
“The interesting thing is that there's so much grant money around both federally and provincially. If the city with a lot some land, we believe that we can raise a lot of funds for those courts. And it wouldn't be a burden on the city or the taxpayers,” Vienneau said.
According to Vienneau, Pickleball for many has become a lifesaver and a good way to stay active for many Airdronians, he has talked to a lot of seniors that were so burdened with arthritis, when they started playing pickleball a lot of it seemed to disappear.
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