Seniors Club in a Pickle

Photo credit: Stock Image [Mason Tuttle - Pexels]
Posted on: March 26, 2024

During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Anne Miskelly of the Smiths Falls Harmony Club spoke to council about pickleball. “This is the fastest growing sport in North America, and has been for years.” The SF Seniors Harmony Club is looking for more space to play pickleball and other sports, such as basketball and volleyball. Referring to the currently-unused Lawn Bowling Club building, Miskelly said, “When we see an empty space going derelict on a main artery running through town, we can’t help but think it would also be ideal for an indoor structure.” She noted the space already has washrooms, parking, and is close to the hospital and downtown.

Currently, the club only has one court, which can be used for one game (played by eight people) at a time. They have over 250 members.

Pickleball can be played year-round if there is suitable, available space.

“We have 6 outdoor courts that were not surfaced properly in 2018, and they are badly cracked.

“What we desperately need is for council to help us develop more indoor space. We would be more than willing to take part in a committee to brainstorm ideas. 

Miskelly pointed out that pickleball tournaments are a huge draw, bringing tourists from neighbouring cities and states, however, court space is needed for tournaments as well. 

The Memorial Centre is an excellent space, even with the cement floor, but the cost to rent the centre is out of our reach and out of reach of smaller groups as well, Miskelly said. 

Responding to Miskelly’s presentation, Mayor Shawn Pankow said, “obviously pickleball has grown immensely over the years, and the benefits of exercise are vast. Where do you go now instead of the Memorial Centre?

“We have 3 courts at Chimo, but we have enough people to fill 12 courts each night,” Miskelly said, “and the other public school gyms are too small.”

The Mayor acknowledged that court space in town is at a premium. 

Councilor Jay Brennan brought up the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which mentions the town’s need of a multi-use facility. The Smiths Falls Seniors Harmony Club is a large group that would make use of such a space. “I encourage staff to come back to us with some sort of idea or plan, we’ve got to keep this going.”

Councilor Dawn Quinn agreed. “Let’s keep this on the table, keep talking about it.”

CAO Morris responded, “There are a few avenues we could look at, also bringing forward discussions on the future of the Youth Arena. I think there’s great opportunity, including the Rideau Community Health Services proposal that’s out there; there’s going to be a recreation element to that [proposed] facility. So I think there’s a couple different avenues we can look at.”

Many members of the Harmony Club were present to support Miskelly.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News