phase two of the Windermere Community Fitness Park is a go!
Funding secured for Windermere Table Tennis Court
Vancouver School Board applies for and receives a $44,000 grant from Adrian Dix, the BC Health Minister to fully fund phase two of the WCFP Project
“We are pleased to announce that the next phase of development at the Windermere Community Fitness Park will go ahead! An official-sized table tennis court and two concrete table tennis tables, along with two benches for viewing and resting, has been approved and funded! Our provincial Ministry of Health has provided the funds required to complete this project. Thank you to Health Minister Adrian Dix for his generous support of this permanent community asset.”
Windermere High School’s PE director Brad White announced on May 1 that phase two of the Windermere Community Fitness Park (WCFP), Vancouver’s first dedicated outdoor table tennis court, has received funding from the provincial government. “It’s a first for Vancouver”, says a spokesperson for Ping Pong In Vancouver, a table tennis advocacy website dedicated to bringing standardized table tennis infrastructure in Vancouver parks. “In the two years we’ve lobbied, we haven’t had any success attracting the attention of parks planners. But Brad White gets it. The VSB gets it. They see table tennis as a sport and understand the necessity of creating spaces to play sports. This is recognition that kids can grow to become table tennis champions when they have access to a safe place to play.”
Now with funding in place, it’s estimated that the table tennis court, featuring two concrete tables on a large concrete pad, benches, signage and modest landscaping will be completed by mid summer. The court will be built on the remaining strip of park bordering the south edge of the fitness area. “Measuring approximately 18 feet by 80 feet, the long narrow rectangle is perfect for a table tennis court”, says Brad White. “The site is quite sheltered from winds, particularly winds from the south. Winds are a joy-kill for the outdoor version of table tennis.”
What constitutes a table tennis court?
The major cost of the new table tennis court will be the site preparation and the concrete slab that will cover the court area. As of March 2023, it is estimated that will cost nearly $30,000. A VSB concrete crew inspected the narrow site over the summer and pointed out raised berms and slopes surrounding the area that will prevent a concrete truck from pouring directly onto the site. Instead a concrete pump truck will have to be used to bypass the obstacles, adding to the cost of the pour.
Once the concrete area had been poured, levelled and set, it will be home to two concrete table tennis tables placed along the length of the space, creating two individual courts set end to end. “This table tennis court respects the fact that players need room and approximates the ‘recreational’ dimensions set forth by the ITTF for table tennis court standards” says Brad White. Our Ping Pong In Vancouver contact applauds the decision to use standard recommended dimensions for the courts. “The table tennis spaces we see currently in Vancouver were put in place by the parks department whose planners clearly table tennis not as a sport, but as a hipster pastime, played in a cramped basement or on a busy plaza next to a road and bike route. This commitment by the VSB to creating a safe and standardized place to play will be the standard to which all future outdoor table tennis installations in Vancouver will be compared.”
Why put in a table tennis court?
Table tennis is a sport that anyone can play at any age. Here’s an example. Harry Woo, a retired restaurateur, is 93 years old and shows up at Killarney Community Centre twice each week to dispatch opponents half his age. “I love this game”, says Mr. Woo, “I’ve played my entire life”. Across town at the Vancouver Table Tennis Club, the premier place to play in town, upcoming juniors as young as 10 demonstrate effortless poise, quickness, coordination and tactics as they train with Joe Law. “Table tennis is an undervalued sport here in North America despite its accessibility”, laments Amelia Ho, president of the BC Table Tennis Association, the sports governing body here in BC. “We need to do everything we can to encourage children and teens to become players so they will have a sport and discipline that will serve and support them for life!” adds Mrs. Ho.
Table tennis can be a demanding sport. At the highest levels of international competition, players need exceptional precision, power, endurance, coordination and a nervous system capable of reacting in milliseconds. On the other side of the sport’s spectrum, far from the world of competition, the game can be enjoyed almost immediately by anyone at any age at any level of ability, and rewards even rank beginners with a taste of mastery after just a few sessions. At this level of play, the joy of being able to keep the ball in play is the reward. It’s hypnotic and few casual players choose to go further. But you can. Working on stroke development, footwork, tactics also leads to significant fitness gains. These include improvements in leg strength, agility, coordination, anaerobic power and endurance. “That’s why the table tennis court meshes perfectly with the community fitness park”, Brad White explains. “Nearly anyone can play, the physical benefits are numerous, the sport is very popular, and Vancouver needs an example of a dedicated outdoor table tennis court as a model for other agencies to follow.”
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