The city is nearing completion of additional pickleball courts at Riverside Park.
City of Kamloops parks manager Jeff Putnam said the city spent $75,000 to replace two existing tennis courts, located on the west side of the downtown park, with six new pickleball courts. Putnam said the sport has experienced “explosive growth” and the city is working with user groups to ensure there is sufficient infrastructure.
With the expansion, Riverside Park will have a total of 10 pickleball courts, up from the existing four courts. Riverside Park will have two remaining tennis courts after the pickleball court expansion is completed.
“It’s going to be a real hub, pickleball centre for Kamloops down there,” Putnam said.
In addition to the 10 pickleball courts at Riverside Park, McDonald Park in North Kamloops has four pickleball courts, for a total of 14 city pickleball courts.
Putnam said the city completed its Recreation Master Plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the plan recognized pickleball had seen explosive growth and tennis had started a slow rebound. Since the pandemic, however, Putnam said more people are playing tennis.
The city has 17 public tennis courts:
• Exhibition Park east of downtown (3);
• Rae Mor Park in Rayleigh (2);
• Brocklehurst Park (2);
• McBeth Park, between TRU and Lower Sahali (2);
• Dufferin Park (2);
• Rose Hill Park (2);
• Riverside Park downtown (2);
• Westsyde Centennial Park (1);
• Cowan Park in Sagebrush (1).
In addition, Putnam noted a private tennis club downtown, the Kamloops Tennis Centre, has eight courts. Putnam said current tennis infrastructure is keeping up with demand.
“We’re playing catch-up with pickleball and now, with tennis, it’s getting busier, but I think we’re OK,” he said.
Putnam said resurfacing of the Riverside Park courts and net installation is almost finished. The area remains closed, but Putnam said the new courts are expected to be completed in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, as the pickleball players await their new downtown court space, Putnam said the city has allowed the Kamloops Pickleball Club to put down temporary lines in tennis courts throughout the city. Some pickleball players regularly use tennis courts to play pickleball, employing their own nets. Putnam said it is allowed, but added pickleballers are asked to give the city’s recreation department a “heads up.”