Youth in the The Blue Mountains who love to play pickleball are getting a break in 2022.
Council, at its regular meeting on Monday, April 25, received a letter from Harry Stevens and Rosemarie Wickens of the Blue Mountain Pickleball Club asking council to waive the fee for use of the pickleball courts at the Tomahawk Recreation Complex for the youth program this summer.
“With the late construction completion last summer we were only able to accommodate 16 children out of the 35 registered. All loved this new game and were so looking forward to playing again this summer. We even introduced many of the parents to this new sport simultaneously,” Stevens and Wickens said. “As this is a 100 per cent volunteer program for youth, it is our hope that the town in their wisdom will realize the value of such a program and waive any court fees for it.”
The request received immediate support from council.
“This is a great initiative,” said Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon, who asked staff about the process to waive the fee.
Director of Community Services Ryan Gibbons explained normally this kind of request would come to council as a request for a donation during the budget process. However, he said there were some timing issues that resulted in the club asking council directly.
“It is specific to youth and we have supported youth programs in the past,” said Gibbons. “It was a successful program last year.”
Gibbons estimated the total cost to waive the $30 per day court fee to be between $200 and 300.
Councillor Rob Sampson supported waiving the fee, but asked that a cap on the total be included in the resolution.
“I would be a little bit more comfortable if there was a cap to the contribution,” said Sampson. “I just worry that there will be significant other 'me toos' on other programs and we need to be careful not to start gradually eroding away the budget.”
Council agreed and supported a cap of $500. Gibbons also advised council that town staff are looking into having different fees and charges in place for not-for-profit and charitable groups as part of the budget process in the fall.
The resolution supporting the fee waiver passed 5-0 and council will advise the Georgian Bay Youth Roots organization of the pickleball program.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca