While many of us on the Sunshine Coast are enjoying the outdoor pleasures of a long-awaited summer, the SCRD board has been grappling with determining appropriate fall and winter use of our recreational facilities. Changing health protocols, uncertain demand for services and large projected deficits are the new realities imposed by COVID in reopening and scheduling the Coast’s recreational facilities. However, should the situation remain relatively stable, it seems likely that the Gibsons arena will have ice for the skating community in the fall. With two arenas on the Coast, the Sunshine Coast Pickleball Association (SCPA) is hopeful that the Sechelt arena will remain “dry floor” until at least 2021.
Such a scenario would provide a safe and economical way for old and young who do not pursue ice-related recreational opportunities to get some much-needed fun and exercise during these extended and trying times of the pandemic. More than 400 people of all ages up and down the Coast are happily addicted to pickleball and are keen to have the chance to play indoors throughout the fall and winter months. It is highly unlikely that many folks will be travelling far afield and the physical and mental benefits of regular recreational activity cannot be overstated. To this end SCPA has given a detailed proposal to the SCRD board and staff demonstrating how pickleball may be played safely and economically at the arena.
Pickleball players of all ages on the Sunshine Coast need a large, airy place to play when outdoor sports wind down. The Sechelt arena serves our needs as well as providing a space for other dry floor sports given the absence of a public gymnasium. Beyond the potential for sporting activities, the arena could perhaps be a venue for Christmas markets, art shows, etc. Hopefully the equitable and fiscally wise decision has been made by the SCRD so that the Coast has ONE dry floor arena open this winter.
Jo-Anne Bentley, Director of Communications, Sunshine Coast Pickleball Association