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.
“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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