Peel police are looking for partnerships to help bring more basketball nets to communities across the region that don’t have one.
Community members and police have already installed five nets in the Peel region, but they’re hoping to expand the Nets for Neighbourhoods program so more could benefit.
“It’s still at the grassroots … but we are really hoping to continue placing nets in communities in need,” Peel detective Aaron Misener said. “We all have a role to play.”
The program, which began two years ago, was the unforeseeable blessing of a stolen net, which somehow made its way to Chamney Court in Brampton.
The net became a focal point for the community, bringing children out of their homes and onto the court to play the favourite sport.
But when the original owner spotted their net, Misener and two other constables were forced take it down right before the children’s eyes.
“We were forced to return it to [the owner],” Misener said. “But the children had nothing to do with the theft, they were just benefiting from the net.”
He said the children and their families watched in confusion as police officers took down the net that had brought so much joy.
“We always have to be aware of our impact on the community when we are carrying out our jobs,” Misener said. “[In this case,] it was making a greater [negative] impact on people who had nothing to with the original [issue].”
Misener and the two other constables promised the community they would return, and bring a new net with them.
Back at the station, they asked people for donations to buy a new net and managed to gather enough to buy one off Kijiji three days later.
They also got a call from Canadian Tire, which offered to donate two basketball nets, which were placed in McCarthy Court. The program gained momentum after that.
Recently, it helped helped transform an unused tennis space into a basketball court 85 Charolais Boulevard in Brampton.
Although the net at Chamney Court is still used by children, with age it has been deteriorating, Misener said. The program is actively looking for opportunities to partner with communities and businesses to replace old nets, and also bring in new ones for other areas.