LETTER-Conversation between court user groups proposed

In response to the Letter to the Editor submitted by Shryl Nussey in last week’s Gazette (Tennis and Pickleball Courts incompatible on County Courts, The Picton Gazette June 11), I would like to make the following comments and clarifications on behalf of the Picton Pickleball Club.

In her letter Ms. Nussey clearly showed her anger with the use of the Bloomfield courts by pickleball players. We currently have 67 members from all around the County, who play with our club in the summer and winter months. In the past week alone, we have had six people join. We were looking to use the Bloomfield courts as well as the Picton courts because with the size of membership not everyone is able to come out each time to play. We wanted to provide a flexible schedule for all.

Ms. Nussey claims painting over of the pickleball lines was not vandalism when in fact it was. It was done by a person(s) unknown and not done with the permission of the County or by the County and since the courts belong to the County, that is vandalism. Would it be considered vandalism if someone had painted over the tennis lines?

Yes, all of the courts in the County were tennis court, but also used by kids for street hockey and basketball. Times change. Pickleball was a relatively unknown sport when the courts were built, so no pickleball lines were added. In the past five years, pickleball has become very popular in the County. It’s a great game for seniors to play and with the ever-increasing local senior population , it was just a matter of time before the sport took hold.

We appreciate the effort the tennis group has made to saving the courts by lobbying the County to refurbish them. However, if the tennis group is “inclusive” as Ms. Nussey states, how can they be so against another sport that encourages people to get out to exercise and enjoy playing?

Her comments about the County’s “lapse in judgement and brutish attitude” about not consulting with the tennis group about the line colour, is incorrect. At the time when a decision needed to be made about which colour to choose, the County attempted to discuss it with each group, however we have learned that the tennis group was not willing to help make that decision since it would then lead to lines being painted on their courts. Instead they responded by generating a petition to stop pickleball lines from being painted on tennis courts in the County. I can understand extra lines on a court may cause some confusion to tennis players, however pickleball lines are not drawn “all over” the tennis lines, they in fact, only cross the tennis lines at various points or run parallel at the boundaries. She also commented on the colour of the lines. We understand the yellow colour is very bright and could be difficult to discern from white in the bright sun, but as stated above, each group had a chance to decide on the colour. If the repainting were to happen, perhaps a non-reflective orange would suffice.

Our club only started playing outdoors last year. When the County was getting lines painted we played in Bloomfield while waiting for the lines at Benson Park to be completed. Once the lines in Picton were finished in September we began playing there, until we moved indoors at the beginning of October. It was only one month we did not play in Bloomfield. As stated above, our membership has grown significantly and until we are able to coordinate play schedules, we were looking to use Bloomfield and well as Picton courts this year. Then due to the COVID restrictions, all parks and recreational facilities were closed. We didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to use the Bloomfield courts until we were informed the lines had been vandalized. Ms. Nussey stated everyone was now looking at the tennis players “like the bad guys”. To that, I can say that it certainly wasn’t the pickleball players that painted the lines and we aren’t complaining about having to share a court.

Ms. Nussey also stated they have the courts “monitored”. If that is the case, we should be able to find out who the line painting culprit(s) is.

The County is doing its best to support the whole community by providing multi-use facilities as the cost of single use would be prohibitive. Groups such as the tennis and pickleball players arrange a playing schedule with the County so the court is available to them at those times. Those times are posted at the courts. Outside of those scheduled days, the courts are open to whomever would like to use them. Our Club is in the process of discussing the schedules we need, by asking our members to give us feedback on days/times/locations that work for them. In the meantime, I would like to propose a conversation between the tennis group, pickleball group and the County, in order to come to a peaceful resolution. We all just want to get on with the fun and enjoyment of our respective sports.

Respectfully submitted,

Bev Humphrey

Picton Pickleball Club