The general growth of pickleball across North America has caused inevitable frictions with other sports and in the case of North Saanich, residents near the courts concerned about noise. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

The general growth of pickleball across North America has caused inevitable frictions with other sports and in the case of North Saanich, residents near the courts concerned about noise. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

North Saanich looks into locking up pickleball courts after hours

Neighbour concerned about noise coming from courts questions idea

North Saanich could end up placing timed locks on the pickleball courts in the community, but one resident says it won’t deal with noise coming from the courts.

David Bentley lives next to the public courts on the Wain Road and has concern with the “noise issue” stemming from the courts.

He made that comment after council voted 4-2 to with Couns. Heather Gartshore and Murray Weisenberger opposed to investigate the costs of placing timed locks on the courts after Coun. Brett Smyth noted courts remain in use beyond posted hours – exacerbating noise concerns.

The courts are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Friday, Saturday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. They used to be open from dawn to dusk before the municipality posted the new hours in response to noise concerns that nonetheless appear unresolved.

Bentley, who can see the courts from his backyard, but also plays pickleball himself, has been a leading voice among area residents concerned about the noise coming from the courts.

Corine Reid, president of the Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association, said the association is thrilled North Saanich has put up the courts. “It’s really up to them to deal with the neighbours,” she said.

“It’s North Saanich’s issue with their neighbours,” added Helen Brandon of the association. “It has nothing to do with us.” When asked about the possibility of timed gates, Brandon said the association has no choice but to respect the municipality’s decision with Reid promising that association members would follow any future changes.

The initiative from Smyth marks the latest development in the public debate over the impact of pickleball on public noise levels.

Like in other parts of the province, Canada and North America, the sport has experienced a boom on the Saanich Peninsula because of its accessibility, as well as its health and social benefits. Accordingly, municipalities have responded by supplying facilities, either by modifying existing sporting facilities such as tennis courts or creating pickleball courts like the four on Wain Road that North Saanich spent $150,000 to build.

The money came from the general amenity contribution fund not from taxpayer revenue, according Rebecca Penz, North Saanich’s manager of communications.

The general growth of pickleball across North America has caused inevitable frictions with other sports (especially tennis) and in the case of North Saanich, residents near the courts concerned about noise as well as the lack of public consultation.

RELATED: Pickleball gets a boost in North Saanich

The summer of last year saw several meetings featuring many or all of the involved parties: various council members including Mayor Geoff Orr, municipal staff, residents living near the facility and the Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association. Potential solutions proposed by staff included the use of acoustic fencing, the use of ‘quiet’ pickleballs as well as a rejected staff proposal to limit play to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during daylight hours, a proposal that drew opposition from various voices, including the pickleball association.

A council sub-committee eventually recommended the current hours for the public facility, which council unanimously approved. Council also instructed staff to include a message calling on users not to use courts outside of the posted hours to minimize the impact on neighbours.

But the issue did not disappear as council received a petition in November that criticized the decision and accused it of being too deferential toward pickleball players. Council subsequently asked staff in early December to report back to council in November 2021 following a review of feedback from residents and pickle ball players, as well as previous staff report.

A motion by Smyth to investigate claims that players have been using the courts beyond the posted hours failed by a vote of 4-2 with Gartshore questioning the evidence of that claim. Orr – who had earlier asked for a more civil discourse around this issue – reminded that public that the question of whether to lock the courts and their use after hours are related.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

Mary Mason of Owls Path Foundation presents plans for a Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre to Port Alberni city council. The structure pictured in this image is the Copenhagen Opera House. (SCREENSHOT)
$25 million Indigenous cultural centre pitched for Port Alberni

Three possible locations put forward for multi-million-dollar Nuu-chah-nulth project

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made right here on Vancouver Island

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Island Health opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The garage door doesn’t look like this anymore, and neither do my sister (left) and me. (Family photo)
Simpson: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at the same address for 43 years, I have not

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

NIC Engineering student Johnny Marshall lowers a prototype oyster grow-out system into the ocean for testing in Campbell River. Photo courtesy NIC
NIC partners with Cortes shellfish company on oyster research

Study and testing hoping to mitigate the impacts of warming oceans on oyster mortality

The Chan family stands in front of the donor recognition wall at West Coast General Hospital with the new ultrasound that was purchased with their donation. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Doctor’s estate funds new ultrasound machine at West Coast General Hospital

Dr. Shiu Fai Chan worked at Port Alberni’s hospital for years

David Wighton is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the winner of the Coaches Award. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Life-changing lessons shared after 55-year coaching career

David Wighton is the 2021 recipient of the West Shore Local Hero Coaches Award

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Dan Law is Tofino’s new mayor. (Westerly file photo)
UPDATED: Dan Law elected mayor of Tofino

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger earn council seats.

Most Read