FortisBC Energy Inc. is working with the Vancouver Bandits and the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council to build outdoor basketball courts that will serve as new recreational hubs for local youth in four Indigenous communities across the province.
The four communities where courts equipped with backboards and hoops are already completed or are in the process of anticipated construction are as follows:
Completed - Full court: Shxwhá:y Village (Chilliwack)
Completed - Half-court: Soowahlie First Nation (Chilliwack)
Completed - Full court: Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo)
In development: Sumas First Nation (Abbotsford)
The initiative as a whole is called ‘Court Projects’ and is supported by the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, as well as various local partners to bolster the existing collaboration between FortisBC, I∙SPARC and the Bandits, who have worked in partnership to host the annual Indigenous Basketball Collective Camp during the BC Basketball Festival at Langley Events Centre (LEC) each summer since 2022.
“We applaud the work the Bandits and these communities are doing to invest in basketball courts which will support fun, meaningful activities for youth,” said Doug Slater, vice-president, Indigenous relations and regulatory affairs at FortisBC in a statement. “We are committed to making a positive difference in the communities we serve and we’re pleased to be a part of this project.”
Inspired by the rapid rise in popularity of one of Canada’s most accessible sports, Court Projects is a legacy component inspired by the unifying spirit of the BC Basketball Festival and is the latest touchpoint of the Indigenous Basketball Collective. The goal of the Collective is to create increased opportunities for Indigenous players, coaches and others involved in basketball to participate in training camps, competitions, workshops and more.
The Court Projects initiative is a contributing facet of the Indigenous Basketball Collective.
“The Indigenous Basketball Collective was created to provide opportunities for Indigenous involvement and growth in the sport of basketball. Training camps, competitions and player development can only be made possible through access to facilities,” said Rick Brant, chief executive officer of I∙SPARC.
“Facilities close to home that are safe and also help remove economic barriers for participation in the sport, encourage active lifestyles and help create a new gathering place for community members of all ages. We are grateful to these four Nations for their efforts and investment to bring their communities together through the sport of basketball.”
Adding to Court Projects’ mandate is a focus on revitalizing courts and hoops in need. To do so, the Vancouver Bandits have collaborated with schools, recreation centres and local partners to donate new metal rims and fresh net mesh for outdoor courts in regions across British Columbia. These upgrades have been supported by partners of the Court Projects program.
“It is an honour to work with FortisBC in partnership with Indigenous communities across B.C. to build basketball courts for public use by individuals of all ages. Basketball is one of Canada’s most inclusive sports and we hope these new courts can serve as an added resource to help encourage recreation, as well as active and healthy lifestyles,” said Bandits team president Dylan Kular.