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Proposal for Lakeside basketball courts bounced through City Hall

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
August 12th, 2021


With no proper full sized or level outside basketball court available in the city a grass-roots basketball organization has turned to the bocce lanes at Lakeside to build their hoop dreams.

The Nelson Hoops Association presented the Lakeside Park outdoor basketball court re-development proposal to council recently to build on the bocce site — currently occupied by the Nelson Italian-Canadian Society — with the idea of constructing three courts on the site, including one full-sized.

Jeremy Phelan, president of the Nelson Hoops Association (NHA), said there currently is a partial court at the Lakeside tennis court — as well as a larger facility at Trafalgar Middle School — but the rest of the outdoor courts throughout the city are too small and are not level.

It makes them unsuitable for any decent games, Phelan told council in late July, and the NHA is unable to host any proper outdoor senior men’s league games or tournaments.

The $175,000 Lakeside proposal — using a combination of grants, fundraising and in-kind donations — would deliver the venue the NHA, which has been in operation since 2013, has been looking for, said Phelan.

“We are looking to provide amenities that are accessible to everybody,” he said, adding that Lakeside would allow them to redevelop something that is close to regulation in a central location. “This is something for the kids that, growing up, they are going to have something better to play on.”

The court proposal — north of the tennis courts — would include a fenced area with lights, four to six rims (more access to courts) and one full regulation court for games and tournaments.

The Lakeside court is currently on the tennis courts as a shared space.

“There are always people down there playing so there is the need to for more court space,” Phelan said, noting a campaign to gauge interest in the project collected over 1,200 signatures.

The NHA is at the “whim” of the school district when it comes to scheduling games and practices because they are trying to play inside in school gymnasiums.

But in looking outside there aren’t any options since no regulation courts exist.

“When courts were put in at Lakeside there wasn’t any consultation with the basketball community,” said Phelan.

Coun. Keith Page said the proposal would have to be referred to a city council business meeting before giving the NHA a licence to occupy, allowing them to gather momentum on fundraising and grant applications.

He moved to refer the proposal to an upcoming business meeting, likely set for September.

“So they can get a clear signal from us that this is an appropriate land use and that we can do better when it comes to courts in this city and then they can continue to look for that money and continue to put that funding together because there is a spot and we are okay with that spot,” he said.

Mayor John Dooley wondered about the possibility of putting the NHA money and in-kind support toward refurbishing other courts in the city, instead of a new facility.

Trafalgar is the only other flat court in the city other than Lakeside, said Phelan, but there had been no response from School District 8 after the NHA approached them on the idea.

“I love the idea, in a sense you get more bang for your buck, and there’s more kids impacted and this is a legacy project for the youth,” he said.

Dooley said he could talk to the school district chair and see what happened to request.

“We might come up with an idea to upgrade all of these courts to the point where more youth will be impacted closer to home,” he said.

In return for the Lakeside space, the NHA would provide the Italian-Canadian Society in-kind support and a place for them to re-locate to.

“We would like to push this forward and get something going this fall and finish by spring,” said Phelan.

Looking ahead

There’s going to be maintenance of the courts when they are done and Phelan anticipated that it would be minor — cleaning and pressure washing the court — adding that the club would be willing to partner with the city on it.

NHA programming

NHA administers the following programs:

• Nelson Hoops League (co-ed, youth ages six to 14 years old);

• Kootenay Chill Club basketball program (U11-U17);

• Spring and summer youth basketball camps;
• Coaching clinics;

• Blair D’Andrea Alumni Scholarship Fund;

• Annual LVR Bomber Alumni Boxing Day basketball tournament and fundraiser; and

• West Kootenay Men’s Basketball League (teams from Nelson (four), Castlegar, Trail, Rossland and Northport, Wash.) — with over 80 players.

Categories: General

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