Plans for outdoor pickle-ball courts in Sidney are gaining momentum as the sport itself (Black Press Media File)

Plans for outdoor pickle-ball courts in Sidney are gaining momentum as the sport itself (Black Press Media File)

Proponents of pickleball courts in Sidney win a point as council pushes design to budget deliberations

Coun. Terri O’Keeffe concerned about costs, timing and community support for courts

The plan for pickleball courts in Sidney is moving to budget deliberations, but the public also heard concerns about who gets how much and the level of public support.

Council voted 6-1 with Coun. Terri O’Keeffe opposed to consider the design of park amenities including up to six pickleball courts and washrooms (with corresponding community consultations) during 2021 budget deliberations. According to an accompanying report, staff plans to bring forward of figure of $30,000 for those talks.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said he is comfortable with council’s decision.

“This isn’t the first time that pickle-players have come forward to Sidney council, requesting facilities, ” he said. “It is a growing sport on the Peninsula and I think it deserves further consideration. I think staff have invested a significant amount of time … and I don’t think the additional time that will be required to bring it to budget deliberations will be significant.”

A successful motion by Coun. Chad Rintoul leaves the question of where those courts would appear open – though a staff report identifies Brethour Park as the best location.

Council also did not vote on a staff recommendation to include funding for said pickleball courts in Brethour Park in 2022. Coun. Peter Wainwright said council can reconsider after 2021 budget talks.

RELATED: West Shore Pickleball Association serves up idea for View Royal tennis court

A number of factors explain council’s apparent ambivalence about Brethour Park as a location and the eventual number of pickleball courts with some councillors floating the figure of four courts rather than six. They include traffic safety in the area, the availability of parking, the existence of a facility in North Saanich large enough to accommodate tournaments and costs – estimated between $210,000 and $360,000 for six courts.

“It’s going to be an expensive project,” said Coun. Barbara Fallot.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com