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North Saanich’s Blue Heron Park could become site of additional pickleball courts

Pickleball association in talks with Memorial Park Society and Saanich Peninsula Soccer Association
Roger Fox, Ann Blyth, Rod Ellis and Sid Greenner of the Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association stand near the dedicated pickleball courts in North Saanich on Wain Road. The association is currently working with the Memorial Park Society and Peninsula Soccer Association on plans that could lead to dedicated facilities in Blue Heron Park. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

The Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association is currently exploring two options that could lead to additional court spaces at Blue Heron Park in North Saanich.

One option could see the association strike a direct arrangement with the Memorial Park Society, which oversees the park. The second option could see the association sub-lease space from Peninsula Soccer Association, which leases spaces in Blue Heron Park from Memorial Park Society.

The association is currently preparing proposals.

Ellis said in an interview with Black Press Media that additional space at that location could be transformative. It would give existing and new players additional dedicated facilities for the sport while allowing the region to host tournaments, he said.

Pickleball has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sports in North America, but the search for additional dedicated facilities on the Saanich Peninsula has been proven to be elusive, if not frustrating in the face of concerns about noise related to the sport and other issues such as parking.

RELATED: Victoria Airport Authority grounds plans for pickleball courts in Rotary Park

“It’s such a slow process,” said Ellis. “That is one of the frustrations. The other one is that councils keep wanting to link us with other sports and multi-use facilities.” Ellis added that the association is committed to maintaining good relationships with all councils on the Saanich Peninsula.

Roger Fox, responsible for training within the association, said councils specifically and the public-at-large are still learning about the sport and trying to understand its needs in the face of other needs. “They are trying to grapple with our needs,” he said.

While the search for additional dedicated facilities continues, the primary location for pickleball, the courts on Wain Road in North Saanich, remains a source of conflict between players and neighbours. Ann Blyth, association vice-president, said this is not a problem of pickleball itself. It’s the lack of dedicated facilities that forces everybody to come to this location, she said.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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