Despite the repercussions of COVID-19 and no pickleball for the last couple of months, a lot has been happening behind the scenes. With the potential for a lot more to be happening shortly, we would like to bring members up to speed on what we know right now.
As you are no doubt aware, COVID-19 has resulted in severe financial constraints for the city, resulting in the cancellation or deferral of a number of its capital projects. Unfortunately, the 4 new pickleball courts the city was planning to proceed with this spring fell victim to the pandemic. Since then the PPC executive along with Mark Tamblyn, the new court coordinator, have spent countless hours lobbying stakeholders, attending meetings and drawing up plans to potentially salvage some of the loss and devise a plan to get members back to playing safe pickleball.
A proposal has just been sent to city council for their upcoming meeting. If approved, the PPC expects to have 2 new courts constructed this year, with the other 2 deferred until city funding enables them to be completed.
The other good news is that under Dave Burgoyne’s lead, another proposal has been presented to the city to potentially have the courts partially re-opened after the long weekend. (Details of Dave’s proposal is posted at the bottom of this email but please note it is a proposal only at this time and subject to change.) This would involve pickleball play following guidelines and modifications designed to minimize health risk, in accordance with Pickleball BC and Pickleball Canada recommendations. We are expecting the city’s decision this week and will let you know as soon as possible, as well as provide details on the guidelines/modifications members can expect. It is expected they will be adjusted over time as conditions and recommendations by health authorities warrant.
We will let you know the outcome of these proposals as soon as we can. In the meantime, be assured the executive will continue to keep the healthy playing-interest of the members as its priority. We can only hope that some sort of normal prevails for all soon!
PROPOSAL DETAILS TO THE CITY OF PENTICTON…… (may be subject to change)
The Penticton Pickleball Club Executive is committed to providing the safest activity possible for both physical and mental health. These are extremely challenging times and it is our collective belief that pickleball, when managed accordingly by the players, with directions from the club, City of Penticton, and health professionals, can be as safe as any other outdoor activity/action, outside of complete self-isolation.
A proposal to re-open the courts after the long weekend for PPC members was submitted May 8 to the City of Penticton for consideration.
Some of the key points of this proposal:
• The executive, with advice and guidance, have identified potential “contact points” at the courts to help make our members fully aware of risks.
• Social distancing maintained.
• Common surface touching would be addressed effectively.
• All aspects of person-to-person transfer have been significantly reduced.
• Activities on courts will be supervised by a “court host.”
Implementing the types of changes proposed will allow the courts to be active again. Modifications can be adjusted over time as conditions, guidelines and recommendations warrant.
The exact program/court use is still being finalized but the following principles will likely apply:
• Bookings by reservation only.
• The timing of the reserved sessions will allow for 15 minutes between sessions. Players can’t be on property any earlier than 5 minutes before scheduled time, and must leave immediately following session.
• A designated court “host” will be responsible for unlocking/locking of gates and be present to meet players as they arrive and will review guidelines for play.
• Physical distancing must be maintained at all times – in all areas around the facility.
• Players must supply their own balls, paddles and ensure they have been sanitized/disinfected.
• Players should consider wearing a glove on their non-paddle hand and must use their feet or paddle to direct ball to the server between points.
• Refrain from picking up balls, paddles or other equipment that is not yours.
• Do not shake hands or tap paddles at any time, opt for a smile, tip of the hat or thanks from distances.
• If a player violates expectations, the club reserves the right to ask you to leave and not permit further bookings.
The club’s proposal to the City is a four stage/phase approach, the first 3 phases would be under the court reservation system:
1) Doubles play, but no mixing of teams within courts.
2) Doubles play, but mixing within courts, and 5 players/court.
3) Mixing of teams permitted across courts.
4) Modified program implementation.
Transition to the next phase or modification of these phases will be determined after monitoring and ongoing provincial announcements.
It is our hope we will be able to start at least Phase 1 right after the long weekend. We should have a response to our proposal by May 14 and will inform members of the next steps when we have more information. The next executive meeting is scheduled for May 20.