Copyright 2017-2018 Kingsville Pickleball

PRESENTATION TO THE PRAC

COMMITTEE - May 24, 2018

Members of the Parks, Recreation and Arts Committee, and interested parties, thank you for this opportunity to address your committee and to make our concerns and thoughts known to you. Given our somewhat contentious history, I was very pleased to receive an invitation from Ms Durocher to attend this meeting. In her letter, she describes this meeting, and I quote, as an "...effort to work towards an equitable and fair court allocation between the KINGSVILLE PICKLEBALL ASSOCIATION and the KTA." As you perhaps realize, this is what want!  She closes her letter on an equally promising note, " ...we sincerely look forward to developing a strategy that is equitable to all parties."    Excellent! The Tennis Association claims ownership of the courts and the right to dictate terms and conditions of use. This claim has never been substantiated, to us.  Doubtless, they at some time performed fund-raising and received a provincial grant, but that does not give them ownership of facilities constructed on public land. These facilities are supported by the taxpayers of Kingsville, for the use and enjoyment of all residents, not just a privileged few. Fundraising is very important to the Kingsville community and to supporting businesses. I am sure those donors expect everyone to benefit from their generosity. Further, who works to raise funds to expand community amenities, then expects special treatment when using those facilities? We all help to create these spaces to benefit  the whole community, not just ourselves. Kingsville is rich in facilities for a wide range of sports; ice hockey, baseball, soccer, and tennis. Most seniors are unable to participate in these strenuous activities in their later years, but seniors make up half of the town's population. Unfortunately, there are few senior-oriented, physical activities in the area. This is why pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America and perhaps the world. The Baby Boom generation, now in their retirement years, have discovered a court sport that doesn't require a lot of running, but can be played intensively at many levels of expertise. Municipalities like pickleball because it takes up little space and attracts retirees, the most lucrative, least costly of new residents, to the area. Attracting seniors makes great economic sense. As you know, Kingsville Pickleball is in the process of becoming a not-for-profit corporation. You may be interested in the goals we have developed for our future: grow the sport in Kingsville - (local tournaments with prizes) encourage seniors to participate - (Get out and get healthy!) encourage youth to participate - (engage schools; offer instruction) work towards a dedicated facility - (develop Provincial-level 2 & 3 day tournaments to help build Kingsville economically and ramp up the skill level of local players) All this led to our mission statement:"To promote pickleball in the Kingsville area for the benefit of the entire community." Last week, our interim board of directors met with the pickleball groups from Windsor-Essex and Tecumseh to share ideas and to explore the possibility of creating a regional hub to attract Provincial and National play. Such an outcome could greatly benefit tourism and migration to the area, particularly to Kingsville, the preferred destination of many new retirees. Where do we go from here? Obviously, we have difficulty with the arrangement dictated by the Tennis Association, so Kingsville Pickleball asks that you consider changing our status. 1. The best solution, that these issues be resolved by a direct agreement between the town and Kingsville Pickleball, where our hours are part of the agreement and we pay the town directly. However, if we must continue with the current situation: 1. please dictate that PICKLEBALL will have equal control over allotted playing times. (Currently,
we have  one-half the number of hours (12) that tennis enjoys (24), though we have many more active
players.)Pickleball regularly has four (4) full courts active, during our limited number of scheduled
times, with an additional 10 to 20 players waiting to play.
Last Fall, the Pickleball players requested additional dedicated court time, to meet the needs of our
growing numbers, but were turned down.  Now, this year, those few members who run Tennis have
reserved those same hours for tennis only! The courts are empty, during those times; zero tennis
players. 1. please dictate that one membership form be developed for use by all.  We currently have sixty nine (69) fully paid members for 2018 who have paid $75.00 for their membership because they play regularly. Inexplicably, Family memberships were denied for pickleball players this year. Were we allowed Family Memberships, as are the tennis players, we would have well over 100 members, including children and grandchildren, who would occasionally join us on the courts. This brings me to the money.  Taking into account the fees collected for 2018 but not yet remitted to the Tennis Association (as they have refused to take those funds until we accept a lower status).  Pickleball has paid nearly $18,000.00 for so-called “rental fees” to the Tennis Association.  Is there a public accounting of how the money is being used?  We  have asked, fruitlessly, several times for such an accounting.  It is inappropriate and unreasonable for a private group to take public funds for the use of a public facility without providing a public accounting of how the money is spent. In closing, I thank you again for the opportunity to bring forward these concerns.  I trust that after due consideration you are able to craft an equitable solution for all parties. Ideally, that would be a separate Agreement for use of facilities between Kingsville Pickleball and the Town. We very much appreciate your time and interest. 
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