Vernon

Project Manager Don Friesen stands under the roof that will cover the 12 courts at the Vernon Pickleball Association Complex in Marshall Fields in Vernon.

Two and a half years ago, Don Friesen and Rick Wadsworth clowned around as the asphalt for 12 pickleball courts was being laid down at Marshall fields.

These days, Friesen is the project manager overseeing the construction of a roof over the courts by Rennie Equipment of Lumby.

The roof which is supported by galvanized beams will reach 55 feet (17 metres) above the courts, which have been open for play for two years. 

Once an agreement was made with the City of Vernon, which would see the courts maintained by the Vernon Pickleball Association,  Friesen travelled to Arizona, to study construction techniques there. The roof structure was built in Texas and shipped to Vernon. 

“We should finish installing the roof by the end of the month,” Friesen said, “and after installation of heat, huge fans including two with 24-foot diameters, and other infrastructure elements, we should be open in February.”

Club members financed most of the

$1.4 million cost of the structure.

A keen player himself, the 60-year old Friesen learned the game, as have many Canadians, in the U.S. during winter stays there. “I played six hours a day, six days a week,” he said. 

Locally, there are about 500 members of the club and Friesen expects it to grow to somewhere between 750 and 1,000 this year. 

“We have kids who start as young as six and many who are in their 70s,” he said.

During a presentation at Vernon Christian School, a six-year-old remarked, “You lose when you play old people.”