The Niagara Parks Commission is planning to repave some dilapidated tennis ball courts in Queenston.
It could be a new place to play for the displaced Niagara-on-the-Lake Pickleball Club, which has been looking for a new place to play ever since losing its outdoor home at the Virgil Sports Park.
Coun. Erwin Wiens, who also sits on the board of commissioners for Niagara Parks, says the restoration of the old courts will take until at least next year since the cost will be part of the commission’s 2024-2025 budget cycle.
The pickleball club’s president John Hindle says it’s too early to say if the location in Queenston is going to be the future of the club.
But with the success of the town’s pickleball tournament last weekend, Hindle said “It’s exciting news that the Parks Commission is at least considering putting pickleball up there.”
Hindle said there is a definite need for more courts, as pickleball continues to rise in popularity.
“We have probably two or three two-hour sessions every day of the week, and every one of them is full to capacity,” Hindle said.
Not only are play sessions at capacity, there’s also a waiting list every week of 10 to 20 people, he added.
While the courts in Queenston are not yet up for consideration, Hindle said there are two tennis courts in St. Davids which “could be – at a low cost – converted to pickleball.”
Meanwhile, he said the old pickleball courts in Virgil could be turned into tennis courts.
The pickleball club is also considering other options for a new home, Hindle said, including an old baseball diamond near the NOTL Legion and a third location near Old Town’s tennis courts, at two underused soccer fields.
The club has not received much feedback from council on the potential of these options, Hindle said.
He acknowledged the new council was “consumed with getting budget done” early this year, but hopes by next spring they can work together to secure the club a suitable home.