Jennifer Field said that all the red properties are opposed to the proposed location.

Hatzic neighbours spike proposed pickleball court location

Delegation to Mission council cites parking, noise issues, slope

Hatzic neighbours adjacent to the proposed location for Mission’s new pickleball courts have spiked the idea, citing “unrelenting noise,” parking and slope issues.

Speaking for the Hatzic Bench Community, Jennifer Field said that pickleball courts should never be placed in a tightly packed residential area.

“We as a community are not coming at this problem … from the perspective of not in our backyard,” Field said. “We feel like it shouldn’t be in anyone’s backyard.”

City council unanimously approved transforming Hatzic Middle School’s defunct 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 council on June 6.

She said Mission has a unique opportunity to build up pickleball correctly, where other cities have stumbled due to bad planning.

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

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

Distance guidelines from the Vancouver Pickleball Association were cited to council. If the court is 100 metres away from the nearest homes, there is no problem; within 70 metres, noise-baffling nets need to be installed; within 50 metres, a berm needs to be built; and if within 30 metres, you need a different location.

“There are actually three homes that share the fence with these tennis courts,” Field said, with many more falling within 100 metres.

She said that while researching for this delegation, she found a “barrage of articles” regarding noise complaints by frustrated neighbours.

In Squamish, city council had to remove courts shortly after they were installed, wasting $100,000; in Victoria, a number of courts had to be relocated to different locations, and council established a minimum distance of 50 metres away from the closest home.

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

She said the courts can fit 40 players, and realistically, not all of them will carpool. She said the parking lot will be crammed and hard to navigate; and it’s along a busy road with no sidewalks and frequent speeding issues.

Field added that the Mission Pickleball Club has suggested growing the area into a hub, and hosting sizable tournaments, which would exacerbate these issues.

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

Over the course of three hours one day, Field was able to gather the signatures of 67 of her closest neighbours opposed to the location.

She suggested the Wren Park courts would be more appropriate, as it’s elevated, has a pavilion, and the nearest home is 66 metres away.

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