The cost of an outdoor pickleball court in Sexsmith is going up.
Town council heard Monday night that upgrading the tennis courts to enable pickleball will now also require new fencing.
Sexsmith wellness coordinator Melody Sample told council the current fencing isn’t strong enough to hold up windscreens.
With new fencing added to the project, the new cost is approximately $43,000.
Council previously approved $23,000 to upgrade the courts.
“What we approved in the early spring was to redo the asphalt, and to look at the idea of putting up a windscreen on one side, so that pickleball could happen easily there,” said mayor Kate Potter.
The fencing will cost $18,600 and windscreens $2,500.
“It's 35-year-old fencing it needs to be replaced, it needed to be replaced, probably five years ago,” said coun. Clint Froehlick on Monday.
“Although the windscreen might be only $2,500 in reality, it ends up being a $20,000 deal because you have to have a new fence,” said coun. Bruce Black.
“Even if we didn't put up the windscreen, that fence would need to be repaired just for safety,” said Potter.
A resident with their home backing onto the courts has requested a privacy screen be installed on the south end of the courts, said Sample.
"I built a privacy fence for myself, and I paid for it out of my own pocket," said Black.
“They chose to buy that house while there were tennis courts there looking into their yard, so I have a hard time spending money to, to put up our privacy fence, if it's just because they don't like people looking into their yard,” said Potter.
Sample said the town is currently acquiring quotes for the re-surfacing of the courts, but the cost is expected to be around $21,000.
Options to paving were considered -- like micro-paving -- but were ultimately ruled out due to the tree roots coming through the pavement at the court, said Sample.
The tree has since been removed, said Potter, but council is concerned that the source tree may not have been killed and want a confirmation that the roots will not return before they begin the paving process. Council has tasked administration to confirm that the roots will not return.
The project has only received $400 in grant funds, but Sample told council that other grants have been applied for and results should come in August.
Council approved the additional $20,600 for the tennis court upgrades to be funded from the capital reserves once the tree and root removal are confirmed, at a vote of four to three.
“The other councillors were in favour of actually doing the work but splitting it over two years, rather than doing it in one year,” noted Potter.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News