The Vernon Pickleball Association (VPA) has a million reasons to smile.
The VPA and its members are among the most passionate about one of North America’s fastest-growing sports, and are serious about investing in its future.
On Wednesday, June 17, the association announced it has raised a little more than $1 million toward their Raise the Roof campaign in just three weeks.
Putting the pledges over the million mark was a pledge from the owners of Vernon’s Pickleball Depot.
“Raise the Roof is Phase 2 of the VPA’s vision for the Okanagan Wealth Advisors (OWA) Pickleball Complex (at Marshall Fields in Okanagan Landing) to accommodate year-round indoor pickleball play,” VPA president Rob Irving said.
“Phase 1 of the project was completed in August 2018 at a cost of $745,000. The RDNO (Regional District of North Okanagan) provided a much-needed grant; the City of Vernon provided a loan, and many VPA members and community partners provided donations and sweat equity to complete Phase 1.”
The vision has always been for an enclosed year-round facility, said Irving, and the foundation was engineered for a permanent steel truss and fabric cover to be installed in Phase 2.
“A committee has been working diligently over several months towards the Phase 2 vision, and on May 22 presented the strategic, operational and financial plans to VPA members via a virtual Zoom meeting,” he said. “The goal of raising $1.2 million in a short time frame seemed impossible, but with three investment and donation options presented to members for the future of pickleball in Vernon, an astonishing $1,001,843 has already been pledged.”
An official vote by VPA members will be taking place in early July via a special general meeting for Phase 2 to go ahead. If the pre-construction steps can be achieved in a timely fashion, a Christmas operational date is possible.
In addition, said Irving, there is a GoFundMe campaign running to raise $50,000 towards lighting and electricity for the facility and any donation amount is gratefully accepted.
Having a roof enclosure over the 12 pickleball courts (and two warm-up courts) will make the Vernon OWA Pickleball Complex the largest first-class indoor pickleball facility in Canada.
“Vernon will easily become a tournament hub for pickleball, and players from all across the Okanagan and B.C. will no doubt come to Vernon just to enjoy playing pickleball,” said Irving.
The VPA has had fast-paced membership growth which is expected to continue over the coming years, and the club is also actively seeking younger players to take up the sport. Membership is expected to top 500 by the end of 2020.
For more information on the Vernon Pickleball Association and ‘Raise the Roof’, please visit www.vernonpickleball.com.