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Saanich finds compromise on pickleball court situation at Tolmie Park

Effective April 4, play will be reduced to four days a week
Pickleball courts at Tolmie Park in Saanich will be closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays as of April 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

Neighbours seeking respite from pickleball-related noise at Tolmie Park in Saanich will have more quiet times starting next week.

Staff, giving an update to the district’s parks, trails and recreation committee at their March 23 meeting, informed members that new compromise measures coming into force at that time include limiting play to four days a week – down from seven – and reducing hours of play on those days.

Committee members had heard from staff in January that the noise mitigation panels previously installed on a trial basis were not providing enough sound dampening.

New rules will see the courts closed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays as of next Monday (April 4) with the hours of play available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

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

Connie McCann, president of the Victoria Regional Pickleball Association, said her group appreciated being consulted by Saanich on the changes and acknowledged that the current solution for Tolmie Park is a compromise approach.

“At the end of the day, we’ll see how that works out,” she said.

Not only will having three less days to spread out the use wind up penalizing people who work during the day and can only play in the evenings, but the reduced openings will also put additional pressure on pickleball courts elsewhere, given the huge demand, she said.

Among other measures being taken to address the situation, courtesy signs have been installed asking pickleball players to not use the park’s tennis courts. Also effective April 4 will be the locking of the pickleball court gates at certain hours of the day, while a new court booking system is expected to be implemented later this spring. All changes will be advertised via posters, newsletters and social media.

A staff report indicated that finding appropriate locations for new courts and building them could take approximately two years.

Rob Harvey, an area resident who has advocated for complete removal of the Tolmie Park courts, suggested a better location would be at the new facility planned by the City of Victoria in the redesigned Topaz Park. “The new Topaz location is right along Blanshard Street and far from any residents, so it’s a perfect fit,” he said.

The pickleball association has been working with the city on that part of the project, McCann said, but she expected that facility won’t be ready for use for up to three years.

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