Sidney staff are recommending the municipality postpone the design of pickleball courts and engagement with the community until Saanich has completed its test of acoustic panels designed to dampen the noise from the sport.
The recommendation follows new guidelines from Saanich governing the location of courts after noise concerns stemming from the increasingly popular sport led to conflict with residents. Court noise has caused considerable controversy on the Peninsula, especially in North Saanich.
Staff said in a report that said selecting a pickleball court location has become increasingly challenging because Sidney is a compact community with homes in close proximity to park spaces.
“When applied to potential pickleball locations in Sidney, the (Saanich) guidelines suggest that none of the locations currently under consideration (Tulista, Brethour, and Iroquois Park) would be appropriate for pickleball courts without an investment in sound mitigation measures, which could reduce but not eliminate noise disturbances,” it reads.
Saanich’s guidelines prohibit the development of pickleball courts within 50 metres of neighbouring homes unless major sound abatement is installed. Courts within 50 metres and 110 metres of residences would require some mitigation measures, while courts within 152 metres and 182 metres of residences or other sensitive areas would be subject to reviews by acoustic professionals during site selection.
Looking at the three possible locations, potential pickleball courts next to the tennis courts in Iroquois Park would be within 30 metres to 40 metres of residences, courts besides the skate park in Tulista Park would be within 50 metres to 60 metres, while courts in Brethour Park would be within 60 to 70 metres.
“According to the Saanich pickleball guidelines, only courts with a distance of 152 metres or more from homes can potentially avoid the need for noise mitigation measures,” it reads.“None of the parks within the Town of Sidney are far enough from residential properties to meet this distance.”
Staff said said Saanich guidelines present new information, which has left the municipality without a clear path forward to begin community engagement on potentially new pickleball courts. Accordingly, staff recommend Sidney await the completion of Saanich’s trial.
Staff is also recommending council ask the Peninsula Recreation Commission to explore options to create an indoor pickleball facility at Greenglade Community Centre or Panorama Recreation Centre, which has adequate space for a court.
Staff’s recommendation to postpone design and community engagement around pickleball courts comes almost exactly a year after council had asked staff to bring forward a budget for community consultations and design of park amenities, including six pickleball courts. Council then asked Saanich Peninsula Pickleball Association to recommend ways to minimize community impacts of pickleball courts.
The association subsequently responded by identifying four possible options at three locations along with possible mitigation measures with one of the four options not including any mitigation.
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