The District of North Saanich, BC has hired private security guards to enforce pickleball court hours at Wain Park following concerns from neighbors.
For several years, some members of the community near the park have raised concerns about noise from the sport, the number of parked cars spilling onto the street and playing after hours.
North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr said the private security guards, hired at a cost of around $3,000 for three months, may seem like an “overstep” but will help the district gather the information needed to make future decisions. about the courts.
“A lot of the information is anecdotal from neighbors and players,” he explained.
“Do players play all available hours of the day? Are players playing more than the allotted time in terms of court closures? We don’t really have any way of evaluating that unless we do some evaluation.”
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City staff introduced the security guard option as an alternative to placing timed locks on the pickleball court gate. Over the years, Orr said the city has considered other alternatives to appease everyone, including soundproof fences, berms and reduced hours.
The district will reassess the use of security guards in late September.
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“It’s just a small measure. We hope it serves the purpose and we hope to find a way that we can co-exist with the play and the activity and also with the concerns of the neighbors,” Orr said.
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Pickleball is a net and racket or paddle sport that uses a hard polymer ball. A paddle hitting the ball generates a sound of about 60 decibels.
In March, the City of Victoria removed the pickleball lines from the tennis courts in Todd Park on March 31, after receiving noise complaints from neighbors and tennis players complaining about the lack of access to the courts. due to the popularity of pickleball.
Shortly after those players held an impromptu game outside Victoria City Hall, the municipality moved to install additional pitches on Beacon Hill.
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Connie McCann, president of the Victorian Regional Pickleball Association, said the sport is “on fire”, meaning pitches, including at North Saanich’s Wain Park, are overused.
“I’m going to say security guards are too much, but that’s what municipalities do,” he told Global News, upon hearing about Wain Park. “When a sport is on fire, I’ll tell you the answer is more courts.”
Pickleball courts at Wain Park are open for play between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, Friday, and Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. .
—wWith files from Elizabeth McSheffrey
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