The Salmon Arm Pickleball Club would like to store its locker containing a defibrillator and a few other items at the pickleball courts in Klahani Park. (Photo contributed)

Talk of ‘new day’ follows pickleball club request for locker at Salmon Arm park

Council voices varying opinions about locker for defibrillator but agrees to get rec society's view

Amid talk of a new relationship between the Salmon Arm Pickleball Club and city council, a request to keep a locker at Klahani Park has been temporarily lobbed to the recreation society.

Charlie Burt wrote to council on behalf of the club, stating members would like to store a defibrillator in a locker at the park along with a squeegee, extra balls and COVID-19 protocol paraphernalia once players are allowed to play as a club again.

“All club members would have the combination to access it. This would greatly benefit our approximately 175 members and also other users at Klahani Park as any club member on site could access it for anyone in cardiac distress,” Burt wrote.

He said the club would work closely with city staff in placing the locker and, if there were any unresolved problems, the club would remove it.

Several issues were raised by council, including a potential liability to the city if a defibrillator is made available to only 175 of the people using the public facility. Couns. Debbie Cannon and Kevin Flynn also expressed concerns about pickleball club members treating the facility as its own with the use of several courts and the possiblity of having a locker at Klahani Park, yet they don’t pay a fee like users of other public facilities such as soccer or ball clubs do.

“That’s still a burr in my bonnet but I’m going to vote in favour as long as the liability issues are dealt with and it’s properly referred to the recreation sociey,” Flynn said of a motion to approve the pickleball club’s request.

Read more: Salmon Arm pickleball club’s request for defibrillator will go to city budget

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Cannon, who suggested a referral to the rec society, voiced a similar view regarding the locker and fees.

“I think really this opens up the door for them possibily paying some kind of fee to use those courts.”

The motion eventually passed unanimously with two amendments: one, that the request goes to the Shuswap Recreation Society which manages the city’s rec facilities to see where the society stands, and two, that city staff investigate whether an agreement with the club would take care of liability for the city.

Aside from liability, councillors said having an AED (automated external defibrillator) at Klahani Park could potentially benefit more than the 175 club members because if someone else was in need of it, club members could provide access to it.

“I’m all for having an AED on site and having as many people trained as possible to use one,” remarked Coun. Sylvia Lindgren.

The city’s director of public works, Rob Niewenhuizen, said AEDs can only be placed in facilities that are staffed.

“In our outdoor facilities, there’s nowhere to safely secure an AED, it would be instantly vandalized…,” he said.

Both Coun. Tim Lavery and Mayor Alan Harrison said this could be the time to start fresh with what has been a prickly relationship between the pickleball club and the city.

“I think history has not been positive and I understand that but I think it’s a new day,” Harrison said, noting a different tenor in the recent letter. He also pointed to a $1,500 contribution the club made to help pay for lines at the Shuswap Middle School courts.

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