Some kind of court battle is heating up between tennis and pickleball players in Edmonton. As the popularity of pickleball increases, the city may be converting existing tennis courts to pickleball courts.
The two games have similarities, but when it comes to court size, they are different and that is creating conflict.
“It takes up a quarter of the space that you play on a tennis court,” said Doug Fogg of the Edmonton Pickleball Club. “Usually on a tennis court there are two playing. We could have 16 people playing pickleball on one court. “
Pickleball’s popularity has exploded and space to play is limited, Fogg said, particularly in Edmonton, where there simply aren’t enough courts.
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“It’s kind of a shame in some ways.
“Red Deer has 20 pickleball courts built by the City of Red Deer, Sherwood Park has 12 permanent pickleball courts, 12 courts in Stony Plain, 12 courts in St. Albert.”
So the pickleball community is looking to take over some tennis courts.
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Tennis Edmonton said that means it will lose some prime gaming real estate to the Coronation Park Community Sports Center project to meet this growing demand.
“The city is really going to tear down the tennis courts here in Coronation and replace them with just two tennis courts and a couple of pickleball courts,” said Miranda Smith of Tennis Edmonton.
The city said it is still reviewing how the court space will be used, but regardless, a 50 percent reduction in the existing tennis court surface will be needed.
Smit said it’s a huge loss to the community and gamers who sometimes need to wait up to an hour just to play.
“I have nothing against pickleball, but we have to do enough to make sure both sports exist and don’t create a kind of competitive environment,” said Wallace Chan of Tennis Edmonton.
“Accessible tennis courts in Edmonton are particularly low when we look at other cities of a similar size across Canada,” said Tennis Alberta CEO Alan Mackin.
Chan said he would like the tennis community to be specifically consulted.
Both groups said there is an even simpler answer: paint new lines on existing tennis courts with minor modifications, which would work for everyone.
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