Pickleball players will now be serving at Beaufort Park thanks to work by Nanaimo Pickleball Club and City of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation.
The club and city hosted a grand opening event Saturday, which saw six courts officially unveiled to players. It was the culmination of a number of years of work by the two groups.
Dave Eaton, Nanaimo Pickleball Club president, said pickleball is increasing in popularity. Plans started three years ago when he began meeting with Richard Harding, city director of parks and rec, and Al Britton, city manager of parks operations.
“We worked out a plan to convert one of the tennis courts at Beban Park into two pickleball courts,” said Eaton. “That went very well and two years ago last May we opened those courts and it was just a huge success. The problem was there was only two courts and a lot of players wanting to play.”
Beaufort Park was decided on as a site for more courts to help alleviate the glut of players.
Coun. Bill Bestwick, parks, recreation and wellness committee chairman, said if there is demand, more pickleball courts could be added.
“I’m certain if the popularity of this venue here proves to be as successful as we think it will, I have no doubt that there will be a third request for another facility and time will tell, but certainly by all the activity that’s going on here … and at the one at Beban Park, I won’t be surprised to see another one in the near future,” said Bestwick.
Dwight Lobson, a pickleball player, was impressed with the new courts.
“It’s awesome,” said Lobson. “It’s a very good court. Nice and even. Lots of people coming out. Last week or so, it’s been just packed like this every morning.”
Karl Yu, reporter, Nanaimo News Bulletin