Saanich 2014 in preview: Clay court saga resumes this month

A decision by council on a proposed clay court tennis facility behind the Cedar Hill Rec Centre will be made as early as Jan. 23

A decision by council on a proposed clay court tennis facility behind the Cedar Hill Rec Centre will be made as early as Jan. 23, when opponents and supporters are expected to come out in droves – again – to say their piece.

The contentious plan, which aims to build eight tennis courts atop parkland and two ball diamonds, has upset many residents in the last two years as it made its way through the planning process.

The first committee of the whole meeting in November was dominated by vocal opponents, whose concerns range from losing greenspace to a request for grant and loan from Saanich.

John Miller, present of the Cedar Hill Clay Court Tennis Society, says he’s looking forward to the next meeting and being able to clarify misinformation. He says he feels confident that council will support the plan, despite the opposition.

“Between now and then, all we’re going to do is keep sending out information, trying to contact people in opposition to talk about their concerns and address them,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing: educate people, consult with people, listen to people.”

Carol Pickup, a former councillor, says Saanich staff should have consulted with the public on how they want the Cedar Hill Park land to be used, based on an existing bylaw.

Regardless of the outcome of the Jan. 23 meeting, the debate surrounding the best use of the lands at Cedar Hill Park will continue through 2014 and beyond.

kslavin@saanichnews.com