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New accessible multi-sport court in North Saanich aims to jump-start play for all

Located at Panorama Recreation Centre, court also includes several accessible elements

The new multi-sport court at Panorama Recreation Centre aims to set an example for other facilities, says the chief operating officer of the donating charity.

“Our goal is that this serves also as an advocacy tool for others to learn from,” Marco Di Buono, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities COO, said Tuesday morning during the official opening of the facility. “We went through a lot of consultation with experts in the field. This was very much a for-us, by-us type of design exercise. Hopefully, others will be inspired (and) they will ask similar questions.”

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity committed to ensuring kids in need have equal access to sports and recreation. While it has been supporting opportunities for children facing financial barriers since 2005, it also started to support children facing accessibility barriers in 2017 through its Inclusive Play Project.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and local Victoria Canadian Tire Dealers donated the 13,200-square-foot Jumpstart Multi-Sport Court, which had a soft opening earlier this spring. Its design includes lines for volleyball, pickleball and badminton as well as adjustable basketball nets. It also includes a wide range of accessible elements including lines for para basketball and tennis, a high-contrast four-square court and hop-scotch play area, contrasting colours to support visual impairment, and shaded double-wide benches for improved accessibility, as well as wheelchair accessible seating and tables, among other elements.

The estimated project total is $1.2 million with the value of the donated court around $500,000.

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

The difference (approximately $663,461) came from the Peninsula Recreation Commission’s capital plan for the site preparation and the relocation of the playground that used to stand on the site.

Ross Imrie, chair of the Peninsula Recreation Commission, said the commission is grateful to have the court as part of Panorama. “Build it and they will come has truly been the case as the community has embraced the new inclusive and accessible Jumpstart Multi-Sport Court,” he said.

Brittany Hudak, a three-time Paralympic Nordic skier who won bronze at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, said the facility is amazing. “The thing that stands out to me is the bright colours,” she said. “It just looks inviting.”

She predicts that this feeling will create more opportunities for differently-abled individuals to try and ultimately enjoy sports with all the benefits that flow from it.

Hudak, who has been missing her left arm since birth, said she was not aware of the various opportunities for differently-abled athletes when she was growing up.

“Now, that this is here, they can see that and that is how it starts.”

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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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