Brian Eccles, ambassador for Carnarvon Park’s pickleballers. (Flavio Nienow/News staff)

Oak Bay pickleballers surprised by tennis community’s reaction to nixed courts

‘It’s rare that we see a tennis player or a group of tennis players [at Carnarvon Park]’

Carnarvon Park’s pickleball players were surprised by the reaction of the tennis community after tennis courts were left out of the park’s redevelopment proposal.

READ ALSO: Residents dismayed after tennis courts left out of Oak Bay park redevelopment proposal

READ ALSO: B.C. man remains kicked out of pickleball association after feud plays out in court

“It’s the middle of the day and there are no tennis players here,” said Brian Eccles, an ambassador for Carnarvon Park’s pickleballers, on Tuesday as half a dozen people played pickleball.

“On average we have 20 to 30 people during the week playing pickleball; it’s rare that we see a tennis player or a group of tennis players,” he continued. “Tennis needs to be here in a way, but there needs to be opportunity for more diverse groups.”

Eccles added that Carnarvon Park is the only place where people can play pickleball in Oak Bay while tennis players have other options, including Windsor Park and the Henderson Recreation Centre.

Meanwhile the tennis community has started an online petition asking the District of Oak Bay to reconsider the elimination of the tennis courts at Carnarvon Park.

As of Tuesday, the petition has over 350 signatures.

According to local resident Penny Lloyd, who started the petition, not having tennis courts at Carnarvon Park would be a “loss for the community and for competitive tennis youth players.”

Robert Bettauer, CEO of Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, called the proposed removal of tennis courts “alarming and unacceptable.”

But according to Ray Herman, Oak Bay’s director of parks, recreation and culture, the purpose of the draft concept plans was simply to ask the community for their feedback. The district held two open houses last weekend.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay residents to have a say on Carnarvon Park’s redevelopment

“We had excellent participation this past weekend at two open houses, and the boards are still on display at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre, where people continue to put their feedback on sticky notes and post them to the boards,” Herman said Monday.

An online survey, found at bit.ly/2F6bAaz, remains open until Nov. 19.

“After Nov. 19 our consultant will gather all of the information received and will work on producing a single draft concept plan, which will be presented to the community in January,” Herman said. “We will again be asking for feedback to determine if the plan is meeting the needs of the majority of Oak Bay residents.”

Herman stressed that no final decisions have been made so far when it comes to the park’s redevelopment.

“In fact, we are a few months away from those types of decisions being finalized.”


 

flavio.nienow@oakbaynews.com

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