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Okotoks aims to become world-class pickleball hub with proposed facility

It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and the town of Okotoks is ready to capitalize on the popularity of pickleball.

The sport is thriving in the town, with tennis courts converted to try to meet demand.

“We started playing in gyms with taped off lines… and we’re only allowed 13 two-hour slots a week,” said Greg Auld, the Okotoks Pickleball and Tennis Centre (OPTC) director.

“Do the math, 250 people for 27 hours does not allow us to fulfill the how many people want to play,” added Don Lang, Okotoks Pickleball Club president.

This prompted the centre, a non-profit group, to partner with the town of Okotoks to create a new facility for the region.

“We believe it’s going to be a very unique facility on the world stage,” said OPTC president Ryan Sawatzky.

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Click to play video: 'Okotoks deals with pickleball noise complaints; Calgary opens new pickleball centre'

Okotoks deals with pickleball noise complaints; Calgary opens new pickleball centre

Last month the plans for a 44-thousand square foot complex were released. The facility will be located by two schools in the town’s north, and feature a dozen indoor pickleball courts, space for outdoor courts, along with a restaurant and bar.

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Sawatzky said the aim is to attract more youngsters to the sport.

“In the first five years that the facility is built, we will provide lessons to ten thousand kids in the surrounding community.”

The complex, which would be the largest in Canada, comes with a $10 million price tag. So far, $6 million has been raised.

Hopes are high within the pickleball community about the future of the sport.

“My wife was saying the other day that she’s playing against a 14-year old, who has joined now. So that’s the other reason for the facility, we can have all kinds of different age groups and different ratings,” said Auld.

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“More and more people are honing their practices and their game, so that’s again another reason that we can utilize more courts,” noted Lang.

The goal is to start construction in spring next year, and be completed in early 2026.

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