Sports

Squash players left scrambling for new court space

With condos set to take over their current space, city squash players are looking at building a new set of courts over the Nelson Curling Club.

According to an email sent to club members, Swingers Squash Club operators Kimberley and Duncan McDonald closed the club and its accompanying lounge at the end of April. The space will eventually become part of a strata development being built by Royal Bar and Grill owner Luke Menkes.

However, club member Tim Pearkes says the club has been promised two of Swingers’ four courts will be available for use this summer and over the 2011-12 squash season, which runs October to April.

“It’ll be much smaller scale, but there will still be squash for another season,” he says.

Pearkes is also part of a committee of regular players looking for a new venue for squash in the city. While he stresses discussions are sill “very preliminary,” Pearkes says the curling club looks like a good site.

“The beauty of the location is we have in essence a recreation block arising in the city of Nelson,” he says.

“For school programming through the community centre you would be able to offer squash as an additional activity for students, we could cross-market the recreation training facilities with squash club memberships and the pool amenities.”

The group has applied for funding from the Osprey Community Foundation to form a non-profit society and begin investigating and planning the project.

“We’ve had preliminary communications with the curling club and have been encouraged to explore it. We’ve had preliminary discussions with the City of Nelson, and really the first step is to do some planning,” Pearkes adds.

So far, the club thinks it would like to build three singles courts and one doubles court on top of the existing facility, which Pearkes says is “a good number for hosting tournaments and developing players in the community.”

Squash players would likely use the curling club’s existing change room space and food services, and the space could be managed by the Nelson Regional Sports Council, with one club member sitting on the council’s board.

While word on its grant application hasn’t arrived yet, the planning committee hosts its first fundraiser this coming Tuesday in the Hume Room of the Hume Hotel. For every $10 spent on a burger and beer (as well as a screen-side seat to the Canucks game), $5 will go to squash.

 

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