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Saanich pitches 6 pickleball courts and one for tennis at Cordova Bay park

Regional pickleball payers offer up $4,000 for sound dampening mats
A rendering of the plan for coming court sports in Fowler Park. (District of Saanich)

Players are pitching in to keep the noise down as Saanich plans six new pickleball courts for Fowler Park.

At the end of the day, council settled on six pickleball courts and one tennis court for the upgrades at the Cordova Bay park.

It will remove some open space often used as an off-leash dog park. During the public input portion of the meeting where council made the final decision, Eulala Mills of the CRD Dog Owners and Friends for Good Governance (DOGG) Society noted the group is supportive of the upgrades. She also lobbied for replacement land in lieu of what will be lost to dog owners.

She suggested it takes about a hectare (2.5 acres) of open space, but staff said the courts will fill .62 of an acre (.25 hectare). District policy doesn’t include commensurate replacement of land.

READ ALSO: Pickleball blowing up in Greater Victoria – along with efforts to dampen noise

Neighbours of McMinn Park, where Saanich tested sound mats on those courts, say they’ve had “a tremendous impact on dampening the sound,” Coun. Judy Brownoff said.

The Fowler Park plan uses recommendations from an acoustic study and the site’s natural topography to reduce noise with a small wall and berms.

The Victoria Regional Pickleball Association will fund some of that work – putting $4,000 toward sound attenuation panels. She noted that a third of their more than 870 members live in Saanich.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria pickleball needs more courts with 300% surge in players

“We want to be part of the solution,” association president Connie McCann said. “I can assure you those pickleball courts will be well used and applauded … we look forward to completion in 2025.”

While there were some who felt this one came out of the blue, there was an “extensive consultative process,” Mayor Dean Murdock said.

Other features in the park include a loop trail, park furniture, drinking fountain, bike racks, and a covered area for bikes and picnicking. The existing vault-style toilet near the parking lot will remain, as adding another closer to the courts could create odour issues for those enjoying their game.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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