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Tolmie Park pickleball court neighbours doubt panels will give relief from noise

Sound mitigation project an effort in futility, says one nearby homeowner
Rob Harvey (left), Albert Nussbaum, Dean Brown and Bruce Davis are among the neighbours bothered by the noise caused by pickleball at Tolmie Park. Nussbaum’s home is right behind the courts, one of the closest of surrounding homes. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Tolmie Park pickleball play has been a point of contention for Saanich since the two courts were created in 2016, with area residents voicing complaints about the distinct and persistent noise the sport creates.

Several neighbours whose homes are nearby recently told Black Press Media they are at their wit’s end and feel unheard by the district. In a 7-2 vote at their Oct. 4 meeting, Saanich council approved the installation of new acoustic fencing panels at the park to address the sound.

“We are just so disappointed with this decision, we don’t feel like we’re being listened to,” said Albert Nussbaum, whose home is metres away from the courts. He said the best and most obvious solution would be to remove the courts and put them in a location further from homes.

The noise is so bothersome, Nussbaum said, that in summer he is forced to wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones while attempting to enjoy a beer in his backyard. “In my view, this has reduced the quality of my life and the value of my property.”

ALSO READ: Saanich in a pickle with Tolmie Park pickleball courts

Rob Harvey, another nearby resident, said pickleball courts should be at least 50 metres from homes – those in Tolmie Park are as close as five metres from nearest properties.

“There are no breaks because they play rain or shine and the sound of the racquet and the ball is penetrating,” he said, adding they are not going to let this go.

Although decibel readings have been conducted, the neighbours agreed their lived experience dealing with the noise cannot be so easily measured.

Even with the district’s noise mitigation efforts, the residents said they are certain the sound will continue to carry and they will not feel peace until the court is moved elsewhere.

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