Badminton players rally for Cordova Bay site

Cordova Bay Community Club seeks approval for new facility

Ron Jordan

After three years and a couple of major edits, the Cordova Bay Community Club is now on the verge of bringing its plans for a new facility to Saanich council’s committee of the whole.

Ron Jordan, a dedicated badminton player and president of the 66-year-old CBCC building at 941 Sutcliffe Rd., said the plans for a badminton-focused club reflect the desires of the group that’s been running the facility for more than 20 years.

The proposed new CBCC facility, which was originally brought forth in 2013, was designed as eight courts and 18,000 square-feet. Instead, the group has modified its plans to a single new four-court building that would go in the parking lot and join the original building with a breezeway. Eventually, a second phase would add an adjoining four courts (totalling eight new ones) to Phase 1, at which point the failing 1949 CBCC building would come down and make room for parking.

“We know that badminton is growing on the mainland and it will grow here too,” Jordan said. “We see it that we’re ahead of the time, more and more people are coming here who have badminton as a big part of their culture and life.”

Jordan conservatively estimates a $500,000 cost for Phase I, of which CBCC plans to borrow $400,000 from Saanich interest-free.

The building permit hinges on the rezoning of the lot from residential to recreation and open space. The fact it wasn’t zoned for recreation initially is a wonder to Jordan. The club is therefore awaiting two applications simultaneously, the development permit for the building portion, and the rezoning. Saanich planning said the current building plans are approved, but could be subject to change when council considers whether the proposed use of the property is approved for rezoning.

It’s hoped the committee of the whole item will come before council this spring. Jordan is aware it will draw a crowd of Cordova Bay residents in support, and also some vocal dissenters.

Brian Dunning from the townhouse complex at 974 Sutcliffe is among those against the proposal. He said they were 50 residents at a recent meeting who were against the development.

“We feel it’s not appropriate, we’re waiting on a council meeting,” Dunning said.

Bringing an additional challenge to the current process is the recent lack of endorsement by the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs.

President Larry Gontovnick of the CBCA said the association couldn’t endorse it when asked by Saanich planning because too many residents are not happy with it.

“What we’re hearing is it might get more support if it targeted the community as a whole, but not as badminton specific,” Gontovnick said. “The neighbourhood sees it as a sporting club which could move into an existing facility.”

Regardless, Gontovnick said the club should get its due credit for taking over the building when it ran into disuse and disrepair, and reviving the club name.

Part of the problem with the current facility is its high ceiling, which is barn like. It makes it hard to cool when it’s hot in the summer and hard to heat when it’s cold in the winter.

The facility once hosted indoor soccer for the Cordova Bay Soccer Association, as well as floor hockey, basketball and Boy Scouts and Kiwanis club chapters. But that’s all ended.

However, the CBCC anticipates groups such as pickle ball and table tennis, and a fitness group that recently left for a warmer winter facility, will all come back with a new club.

“Our revenue is currently 98 per cent badminton, but we expect more members of the community to come back [for other uses] with a new facility,” Jordan said.

A Cordova Bay 55+ group called Hot Shots is using the downstairs as an air rifle range. Until a few years ago there was a pickle ball group too but it left for other facilities, Pearkes Rec Centre among them.

“There is a group who is against anything we propose, whether it’s a small addition or a big addition,” Jordan said. “What they’d reluctantly approve is a tear down and rebuild on the same envelope, and what they’d prefer is we sell the property and move.”

That’s not going to happen, Jordan said.

He estimates 500 unique visitors come through the hall each month and the number would grow exponentially with a new facility and added programming through rentals.

“This is a community club that has never required you to be a member of Cordova Bay to use it, so when people ask how many people use it, we don’t have a list,” Jordan said. “People rent it and we don’t always know how many people have come in.”

For more information about the proposal visit cordovabaycommunityclub.com.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

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