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Peninsula pickleball players praises Sidney’s investigation of courts at North Saanich’s Rotary Park

Proposal has also met opposition
Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association says Rotary Park has parking and washroom facilities and meets the prescribed residential setbacks, thereby mitigating potential noise impacts, in praising Sidney’s decision to investigate the site as a potential location for dedicated pickleball courts. (Black Press Media file photo)

The association representing pickleball players on the Saanich Peninsula welcomes Sidney’s investigation of Rotary Park located in North Saanich as a potential site for pickleball courts.

“(Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association) would like to convey our full support for this initiative,” read a letter from the association. “This site has both parking and washroom facilities and, in addition, meets the prescribed residential setbacks, thereby mitigating potential noise impacts.”

Sidney council has tasked staff to investigate placing dedicated pickleball courts in Rotary Park, a facility on Victoria International Airport lands used for baseball and softball. This process would see Sidney staff reach out to Victoria Airport Authority, Peninsula Baseball and Softball Association and North Saanich, where the park is located.

SPPA said in the letter that having the courts at Rotary Park would take some pressure off the courts located in North Saanich on Wain Road.

The courts have seen heavy use in line with the sport’s growing popularity, but also conflict between users and nearby residents concerned about noise.

RELATED: LETTER: Don’t dump pickleball on Sidney’s doorstep

RELATED: Play Pickleball! North Saanich baseball/softball park considered for courts

It was this aspect that prompted Sidney to hit the pause button on community consultations and designs for courts within Sidney’s own borders, pending testing of acoustic panels designed to dampen the noise from the sport.

All three potential sites – Iroquois Park, Tulista Park and Brethour Park – lie well within guidelines developed in Saanich that indicate courts must be located 152 metres or more away from homes to potentially avoid the need for noise mitigation. Rotary Park, relatively far from residential areas and in an area accustomed to noise with its proximity to the airport and two busy roads, popped up on Sidney’s radar after the SPPA had raised the idea.

However, the facility is already heavily used and not everybody is thrilled with the idea of courts at that location.

In a letter to Black Press last month, Sidney resident Rick McCully wrote: “If North Saanich made a mistake by developing this facility (the courts on Wain Road) in their quiet rural sanctuary, don’t attempt to placate the few privileged complainers by dumping it on Sidney’s doorstep.”

Coun. Terri O’Keeffe has questioned Sidney’s ongoing search for pickleball courts. If SPPA wants to have courts at Rotary Park, it should approach North Saanich directly, she said.

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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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