The applicant behind a proposal to build a set of outdoor tennis courts at Mount Douglas Golf Course at 4225 Blenkinsop Rd. cites the need for additional tennis courts in Saanich.
Chad Brachat does not own the golf course, but has applied on its behalf to build the courts. With his own funds, Brachat, an avid tennis player and youth coach, has brokered a deal with the owner of the Mount Douglas Golf Course to build up to eight tennis courts on the property.
The application has been forwarded to Saanich Planning and is also within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Although the golf course is on board, Brachat anticipates concern from the Blenkinsop Valley neighbours.
“I need to consult with the neighbourhood but basically it’s only for four courts, and they’d be available to people who pay,” Brachat said.
The cost would be something like $5 to $15 per hour, though the business model isn’t in place yet, he added.
His application to the Agricultural Land Commission to permit non-farm use on ALR land came back with positive notes, as it included recent examples of golf course additions on ALR land.
“It’s zoned P4 (recreation) and it’s already a working golf course so I’m optimistic,” Brachat said. “The space it would go on has been an overflow parking lot for 50 years.”
However, he was told by Saanich Planning that the Blenkinsop community doesn’t support intensification of non-farm use in the Blenkinsop Valley.
“We’ve been through this before, trying to add tennis courts at the Saanich Tennis Club but there were too many barriers and road blocks,” Brachat said.
This project is different than the 2013 attempt to build a series of clay courts on the little-used softball diamond beside Cedar Hill Recreation Centre and golf course. Saanich council quashed that project in February 2014 after a backlash.
This time around, the funding is completely private, and so are the lands.
Brachat is a Saanich resident who volunteers as a coach with youth tennis players at the Royal Oak-based Saanich Tennis Club, where he is a board member.
“We have 30 youths from age five to 16 on two (Saanich Tennis Club) courts during the summer, so it’s super packed,” Brachat said.
The tennis court project would also add some parking spots as it would cover a field dedicated as an overflow parking lot.
Brachat said he has significant meetings and public consultation ahead of him before he can say anything else.