Saskatoon basketball players frustrated by run-down inner-city courts

Basketball players in Riversdale and Pleasant Hill say many courts need to be fixed up or replaced.

Fundraisers planned to raise money for better facilities

Basketball player Kevin Wesaquate playing ball at Saskatoon's ageing Pleasant Hill School. (David Shield, CBC)

Basketball enthusiasts in Saskatoon say inner-city courts leave a lot to be desired.

Kevin Wesaquate says many of the courts are old and run-down, and need to be fixed up or replaced.

One of the only full-sized courts in the area, at Pleasant Hill School, is well-used, but in bad shape.

"The ball is always going over the fence, and it gets too dark, and I'm scared people are going to get hurt on the pavement," Wesaquate told CBC News Tuesday. "It's falling apart and I think it could be better."

Wesaquate says he and his friends often find themselves travelling long distances to find a decent place to play on a full-court. He says it can get a little frustrating.

"In Riversdale, one would probably have to walk all the way out to Holiday Park," he said. "It's quite a trek out to Holiday Park to organize some guys to go out there to play ball."

Wesaquate is planning a charity three-on-three ball tournament for Aug. 23 and some fundraising barbecues for better basketball facilities. He says a nicer ball court would really help the community out.

"I think it would improve the relationship with the community," he said. "It would give people in the community somewhere they could belong and develop their dreams of becoming basketball players."

The City of Saskatoon says it has heard requests to have full-court basketball facilities and has a meeting planned to talk about the issue.

The city says two new hoops will soon be installed at St. Mary's School, along with two new hoops at Optimist Park.

"It won't be a full-sized court, the 94 feet by 50 feet," said Neighbourhood Services Manager Mike Libke. "It would have the length, but not the width. But [it] would be an excellent opportunity to play pick-up ball and practice," he said.