A unique design feature for a proposed sports equipment store in Saanich caught councillors’ attention Monday night.
A sports court – for basketball or small games of hockey – is planned for the front yard of the new Kirby’s Source for Sports. Council gave near unanimous support to the plans for the court and the larger store, to front onto Seymour Street instead of its current Cloverdale Avenue.
“I like that they’re taking advantage of the nature of the business by promoting athletic activity on the site itself,” said Coun. Dean Murdock.
The court will measure about 10 metres by 15 metres, with a three-metre-high chain link fence surrounding it.
“This community’s undergoing some changes, so it’ll be nice for the community (members) to see it change and see how it’s going to be,” Coun. Wayne Hunter said. He referred to a recently approved development up the street on the former eyesore corner of Cloverdale and Inverness Road.
But Coun. Vicki Sanders, former president of the Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association, wasn’t fond of the court.
“It reminds me of a parking compound with a high fence,” she said. “It’s not the vision I wanted to see (in this neighbourhood). It’s unique alright, but not a unique I like.”
Store owner Kirby Yeats said the landscaping on site should provide enough of a barrier for people who aren’t keen on the fence.
“People shouldn’t be strictly looking at the fence. They should be looking at the facility itself – the building and the sport court and the atmosphere it brings to the neighbourhood,” he said.
Councillors shared the sentiment, saying it will promote physical activity and could provide local teams and athletes with a small practice facility.
Yeats first went to council in December, but his proposal was postponed over concerns from councillors regarding impervious surfaces and less-than-ideal landscaping.
The new store will be built behind the existing one. The old building will be deconstructed to make way for the sport court and front-of-store parking.
Yeats hopes to have the new store open by the end of the year.
Councillors approved the application 7-1, with Sanders opposed. Coun. Leif Wergeland was absent from the meeting.