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Not this weekend: Nanaimo put kibosh on pickleball clatter for Easter

City council votes to close Beaufort Park pickleball courts on Easter Sunday and Monday
Nanaimo city council has voted to close the Beaufort Park pickleball courts for two days over the Easter weekend to give nearby residents a break from noise created by the sport. (News Bulletin file photo)

The Easter long weekend will be a comparatively quiet one for neighbours of Beaufort Park’s pickleball courts.

Nanaimo city council, at a meeting Monday, March 18, voted to close the courts on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, March 31-April 1.

Coun. Ben Geselbracht, prompted by correspondence to council, brought forward the motion to allow nearby residents of the park a temporary reprieve from noise created by the sport.

“Pickleball has been highly successful with tons of people playing it, which is awesome, and for this particular area, it was unanticipated that it would be this highly used and it’s resulted in very loud noises at all hours,” he said.

Geselbracht said the noise has been difficult for the neighbours and while the city is planning other courts elsewhere, he said there also need to be compromises to accommodate impacted residents.

Coun. Tyler Brown said he would vote in favour of the motion, but was uncomfortable with it.

“This has happened twice in a matter of months and if we are going to entertain things like that – where there’s a type of public use that’s associated with recreation – then we need to have a policy in place that defines the parameters in which a decision like this gets made,” Brown said.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she will likely hear from pickleball players about her decision to vote in favour of the motion, but said she recognizes the impact of the noise from the courts.

“I was on the council that put those there and that’s a decision I regret because I think it had huge consequences for the neighbourhood and I hope that we can fix it sooner than later,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons why we did move to build eight more pickleball courts.”

Coun. Erin Hemmens said she agreed with Brown, noting that council set a precedent when it closed the courts on certain days last December at a time of year when they weren’t seeing as much use.

“This council could move to remove those courts and I think that might be appropriate action rather than entertaining letters to close them for weekends,” Hemmens said.

Coun. Hilary Eastmure pointed out that there are other pickleball courts that players can use over Easter.

“Given that, I think this is a reasonable thing, but we do need to have that conversation that Coun. Hemmens talked about and council also did support adding new courts at Beban [Park] to facilitate that,” Eastmure said.

The motion to close the courts at Beaufort Park on March 31 and April 1 passed with Hemmens opposed.

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