Grass grows through cracks in the concrete at Sicamous’ public tennis courts adjacent to Eagle River Secondary. The District of Sicamous has asked School District#83 to partner on a grant application to repair and reconfigure the courts to create a new sports complex. (Lachlan Labere-Eagle Valley News)

School District #83 asked to partner on proposed Sicamous sports complex

District of Sicamous wishes to apply for $600,000 infrastructure project grant

The ball is in School District #83’s court whether to partner on a grant application for a new outdoor sports complex in Sicamous.

At its Tuesday, Sept. 22 meeting, the school district’s board of trustees received a presentation and request from District of Sicamous operations manager Joe McCulloch. The presentation revolved around two properties adjacent to Eagle River Secondary. One contains the Sicamous-owned tennis courts. The other property, an empty lot to the south of the tennis courts, is owned by Telus.

McCulloch explained Sicamous would like to apply for federal infrastructure grant funding to the tune of $600,000. The funding would go towards repairing and reconfiguring the tennis courts to include one permanent tennis court (with lines for four pickleball courts), two permanent pickleball courts and a full-size basketball court that could also be used for hockey. Proposed for the Telus property are two pickleball courts and parking for up to 12 vehicles.

McCulloch said Telus would be contributing the use of its property, and he asked that the school district consider being a partner in the grant application. With grant applications, McCulloch noted approximately 73 per cent of project funding is typically provided through federal and provincial partners. He proposed that Sicamous and the school district would each contribute 13.3 per cent, or $81,000.

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Eagle River Secondary and Parkview Elementary would have use of the courts, and the complex would add to outdoor recreation opportunities in the community.

McCulloch noted the tennis courts are currently used by the public in the summer, and by students during the school year.

Trustees agreed to forward the request to school district staff to come back with information. However, having just sat through a presentation on the school district’s financials, there was some apprehension among trustees.

Marty Gibbons, trustee for the North and South Shuswap, noted the school district had to fundraise to purchase defibrillators for schools. Later in the meeting, speaking as chair of the school district’s labour relations committee, trustee Quentin Bruns, who represents Sicamous, Enderby, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area E and Regional District North Okanagan Area F, said as much as he loves tennis, he’d rather see money go towards the health and safety of school district staff.

Subsequent to McCulloch’s presentation, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz explained the tennis courts are in need of repair and, if the school district chooses not to support the application, Sicamous would look for alternatives.

“Anytime we can find a way to improve a facility, that’s our mandate,” said Rysz. “We want to get more recreation going in town.

“Personally, as we move forward, I’d like to see a separate complex incorporate not only tennis but also raquetball and pickleball in a closed building. That’s on the horizon if we can ever find a formula to find the financial means to make that happen.”

Currently, the District of Sicamous’ curling rink is being used for indoor pickleball courts.

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