The positives to Polson Park being home to dedicated pickleball courts are numerous.
An increase in the number of people using the park in a positive way makes the park safer for others and should further enhance usage.
Go down to the park any morning in the summer and the number of people is dwarfed by the number of Canada geese that enjoy eating the grass in the middle of the existing running track.
Consider how many more working downtown people may come into the park during their lunch hour because of the central access to try or watch the game.
Consider how other types of park users may be interested in trying the game because they were exposed to it and how it promotes an active lifestyle and resulting health benefits.
Consider how downtown businesses would benefit when outside tournaments are held here and participants and their families are walking distance to the restaurants and shops while they take a break between games.
Consider the positive optic to Vernon when visitors come to the park and see a top-quality sports facility being well used in the heart of its downtown.
Two recent letters to the editor suggest Polson Park is not a good place for pickleball courts due to potential noise and parking concerns.
These are perceived concerns but should be kept in an overall perspective and weighed against the positives.
Anyone who has been around while pickleball is being played will know that you can carry on a conversation at normal voice levels right next to the game and not have a problem hearing each other.
While not disruptive in this way, it can be annoying if you are in your backyard in the morning enjoying your coffee and paper and expecting a generally still environment.
But Polson Park is not your backyard and is instead a people place that endeavours to cater to all kinds of users. The playground facilities, the waterpark feature and skateboard park all represent activities that generate as much noise as pickleball does.
This is not a problem, indeed it is a good thing.
It means the park is being well used and the happy noises associated with that are a positive alternative to the quiet because less people are there.
If it were primarily children versus adults who played pickleball would the noise be less offensive?
Regarding the parking concerns, there are a number of existing parking areas that seem to suffice whenever special events are held on site so pickleball activities shouldn’t create any new parking problems as long as some coordination is employed to ensure overlaps are kept to a minimum.
The new running track at Okanagan College that opened this fall means the city is going to review the Polson Park running track space and decide what to do with it.
This review will likely include an objective to maximize the usage and enjoyment for all Vernonites.
On balance, pickleball courts offer a great choice as part of that decision.