FortisBC Energy Inc. operates With the Vancouver Bandits and the Aboriginal Sports, Physical Activity and Recreation Council to build outdoor basketball courts that will serve as new recreation centers for local youth in four Indigenous communities across the province.
The four communities whose courts are equipped with backboards and hoops have already been completed or are in the expected construction process, and are as follows:
Complete – Complete Stadium: Shxwhá:y Village (Chilliwack)
Complete – Half Field: Soowahlie First Nation (Chilliwack)
Complete – Full Stadium: Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo)
In development: Sumas First Nation (Abbotsford)
The initiative as a whole is called “Court Projects” and is supported by the BC Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, as well as several local partners to enhance the existing collaboration between FortisBC, I∙SPARC and the Highwaymen. , who have partnered to host the annual Indigenous Basketball Collegiate Camp during the BC Basketball Festival at the Langley Events Center (LEC) every summer since 2022.
“We applaud the work the Bandits and these communities are doing to invest in basketball courts that will support recreational and meaningful activities for youth,” Doug Slater, vice president of Indigenous Relations and Regulatory Affairs at FortisBC, said in a statement. “We are committed to making a positive difference in the communities we serve, and we are thrilled 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 heritage item inspired by the unifying spirit of the BC Basketball Festival and is the newest touchpoint for the Indigenous basketball group. The goal of the group is to create increased opportunities for Indigenous players, coaches and other basketball participants to participate in training camps, competitions, workshops and more.
The Court Projects Initiative is one of the contributing aspects of the Indigenous Basketball Group.
“The Indigenous Basketball Group was created to provide opportunities for Indigenous participation and growth in the sport of basketball. Training camps, competitions and player development are only possible with access to facilities,” said I∙SPARC CEO Rick Brandt.
“Facilities close to home are safe and also help remove economic barriers to participation in sports, 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 investments to bring their communities together through the sport of basketball.”
In addition to delegating court projects is the focus on revitalizing courts and districts in need. To do this, the Vancouver Bandits have teamed up with schools, recreation centers and local partners to donate new metal edging and netting for outdoor playgrounds in areas across British Columbia. These upgrades were supported by Court Projects Program partners.
“It is an honor to work with FortisBC in partnership with Indigenous communities across British Columbia to build basketball courts for public use by individuals of all ages. Basketball is one of the most inclusive sports in Canada,” said Dylan Kollar, president of the Bandits. We hope that these new playgrounds will serve as an additional resource to help encourage recreation, as well as active and healthy lifestyles.