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Oak Bay battles pickleball noise with rubber fencing

Region seeks long-term solutions to increase play areas, decrease noise

Oak Bay hopes to muffle the sounds of pickleball play with rubberized fencing along a segment of the upper chain-link portion of the former lacrosse box at Carnarvon Park.

The rolled, rubberized product called AcoustiFence or Acoustiblok is used around North America for racquet sport courts to provide a wind block and a level of sound mitigation.

Staff presented the option to council, sitting as committee, June 20 while seeking input on the next moves in the effort to balance availability of the popular sport, with the ability for neighbours to enjoy their homes and yards.

While moving the courts added distance from homes on Allenby Street, it shifted the five courts closer to a couple homes at the corner of Townley and Henderson streets.

RELATED: Oak Bay budgets $70,000 to move pickleball courts to lacrosse box

Oak Bay staff said noise complaints have dropped, but do continue and residents attending the meeting attributed the fewer complaints to exhaustion over the process.

Coun. Cairine Green said it’s a start to what seems a three-pronged approach: short-term solution, long-term solution and continued research.

Long-term solutions, including more courts across the region, are key to appeasing everyone, explained Connie McCann, an Oak Bay resident attending the meeting as president of the pickleball association.

“The growth in this sport is not going away and we find that here in the Greater Victoria region. We have 400 members from every municipality,” McCann said.

RELATED: Pickleball’s growth raises a racket in Victoria, amid bans over noise complaints

She both offered the group’s $4,000 donation and reiterated municipal staff’s note that they’re working with the BC Recreation and Parks Association to look at setting standards for placement of courts – including investigating sound levels. Steve Meikle, Oak Bay’s director of parks recreation and culture, said he is part of ongoing talks in the Capital Region looking at potential court locations.

The rubberized fencing was the least expensive option and deemed most feasible at about $25,000, and could be done in a couple months. The lacrosse box currently has five-foot-high plywood around its base, and the new product would add six feet above that.

Council also accepted the Victoria Regional Pickleball Association’s offer of $4,000 toward the project.

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

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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