Sidney’s council tasked staff with investigating the installation of pickleball fields in Rotary Park, a facility on the grounds of Victoria International Airport used for baseball and softball.
A motion was passed at the November 22 meeting to postpone community consultation and the design of pickleball fields in Sidney, and for staff to contact North Saanich – where the park is located – the Victoria Airport Authority and the Peninsula Baseball. and Softball Association, to investigate the possibility of installing pickleball courts in a section of the park used for overflow parking.
“It’s a reasonable way to get things done,” said Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith of the motion tabled by councilor. Chad Rintoul. Them and Cones. Sara Duncan, Scott Garnett and Peter Wainwright voted in favor of the motion.
Earlier in the meeting, staff recommended postponing community consultations, design, and consultation with the Peninsula Recreation Commission on creating an indoor facility, until the Saanich District completes its testing. acoustic panels designed to dampen sports noise. The latter recently created new guidelines for the installation of new courts.
Pickleball’s popularity with all age groups has grown in recent years, contributing to the fitness boom, but the noise created has drawn criticism from those living near the courts, notably in North Saanich, where this municipality is still looking for a compromise solution for the courts of Wain Road. .
Sidney staff pointed to Saanich’s guidelines that say courts should be located 152 meters or more from homes to potentially avoid the need for noise abatement. The three potential sites in Sidney – Iroquois Park, Tulista Park and Brethour Park – are well within this radius.
Rotary Park, relatively far from residential areas and in an area accustomed to noise with its proximity to the airport and two busy roads, appeared on Sidney’s radar after the Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association raised the idea. Although Rintoul acknowledged the staff assessment that use of the park is already heavy, he said the Peninsula Recreation Commission is already investigating potential locations for pickleball courts.
Com. Terri O’Keeffe, who voted against the motion with Coun. Barbara Fallot, said the staff have already put a lot of energy and effort into an issue that ranks below the others in priority. She also asked why Sidney was “forcing” this problem on North Saanich. If the pickleball association wants fields in North Saanich, they should make their field to them, O’Keeffe added.
McNeil-Smith defended the decision, noting that the two municipalities were partners on various fronts, a point raised earlier when it was said that representatives from Sidney and North Saanich sit on the committee that manages the park.
The mayor also confirmed his previous interest in Tulista Park as a possible location for pickleball in Sidney. The facility includes the skateboard park and sits under one of the major flight paths to and from Victoria International Airport. McNeil-Smith also pointed out that busy Lochside Drive de facto serves as a sound barrier.
But Wainwright cautioned against the location because of its proximity to the ocean, noting that Sidney should first study the potential impacts of climate change on the park.
“We should pull ourselves together before we build any major capital infrastructure,” he said.