Hatzic neighbors offered location for pickleball court – Mission City Record

Hatzic neighbors adjacent to the proposed location for the new Mission pickleball courts pushed the idea, citing “constant noise”, parking and grade issues.

Speaking on behalf of the Hatzic Bench community, Jennifer Field said pickleball courts should never be placed in a heavily populated residential area.

“As a community, we’re not approaching this issue…from the perspective of stepping into our backyard,” Field said. “We think it shouldn’t be in anyone’s backyard.”

The city council unanimously approved the transformation of the old Hatzic Middle School tennis court into 10 pickleball courts on May 16, after a delegation from the Mission Pickleball Club came with the request less than a month earlier.

Field and the Hatzic Bench community presented a counter-delegation to the council on June 6.

She said Mission has a unique opportunity to properly develop pickleball where other cities have stumbled due to poor planning.

The biggest problem highlighted by Field was the crushing noise that accompanies the slap of wiffle balls, “akin to an aluminum bat perpetually hitting a baseball”.

She added that there would also be a “party atmosphere”.

Vancouver Pickleball Association distance guidelines were cited to the board. If the land is 100 meters from the nearest dwellings, there is no problem; at less than 70 meters, anti-noise nets must be installed; within 50 meters, a berm must be built; and if within 30 meters you need a different location.

“There are actually three houses that share the fence with these tennis courts,” Field said, and many more are within 100 yards.

She said while researching for this delegation, she found a “deluge of articles” about noise complaints from frustrated neighbors.

In Squamish, the city council had to remove the courts soon after they were installed, wasting $100,000; in Victoria, a number of courts had to be moved to different locations and the council set a minimum distance of 50 meters from the nearest home.

The 22 sloped parking spaces at the Hatzic Middle School location are also inadequate, according to Field.

She said the courts can hold 40 players and realistically not all of them would carpool. She said the parking lot will be crowded and difficult to navigate; and it’s along a busy road with no pavements and frequent speed issues.

Field added that the Mission Pickleball Club has suggested making the area a hub and hosting major tournaments, which would compound those issues.

The last problem mentioned was the slope of the courts. Field said the Hatzic courts have nearly twice the slope of a standard pickleball court, which would provide an unfair advantage.

Over the course of a three-hour day, Field was able to collect the signatures of 67 of its closest neighbors opposed to the location.

She suggested the Wren Park courts would be more suitable, as they are elevated, have a clubhouse and the nearest house is 66 yards away.

City staff said they are now looking at other locations for the courts.

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