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Delta to require pickleballers to use quieter paddles

The city two years ago decided that it needed to wait for new provincial standards, in consultation with Pickleball B.C., before building any new courts
The city installed new pickleball courts at Cromie Park in 2020, but it became a source of many complaints by the surrounding neighbourhood. Sandor Gyarmati photo

Pickleball players wanting to use Delta playing courts will be required to use quieter paddles as the city looks to address noise complaints about the sport.

Council on Monday agreed to the move, deferring staff recommendations for six months until the effect of softer paddles can be assessed. The parks department will also consult the Delta Pickleball Association, hoping to encourage players to make the switch.

A staff report recommended that the number of pickleball courts at Cromie Park in Ladner be reduced from 10 to six, and an acoustic barrier be installed to address noise concerns related to pickleball play in the park.

The $200,000 cost for the acoustic upgrades to those sport courts, the source of most of the pickleball noise complaints, is provided in the city’s budget, while the gradual modification of other existing pickleball courts would be planned based on community impact.

In response to the growing concern, the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) undertook a process to determine appropriate guidelines for pickleball facility planning and construction in the province, coming up with the Noise Planning Guideline for Outdoor Pickleball Courts, which the City of Delta will follow.

The Delta staff report also recommended that, following the completion of the work at Cromie Park, a review of the Memorial Park courts would be undertaken, noting operational changes in conjunction with minor capital interventions may be sufficient to address concerns about those courts.

During council’s discussion, Mayor George Harvie expressed dismay at the recommendations, saying he does not want to see the number of pickleball courts in Delta reduced, but instead grow with appropriate mitigation.

He suggested all Cromie courts have sound attenuation as well as a deferral of the recommendations to analyze the impact of different paddles.

The city two years ago put a freeze on building new courts and Delta’s current five-year capital plan does not include construction of any further pickleball courts.

Coun. Jessie Dosanjh said there should be more investments in courts to promote a culture of sports and physical activity.

Coun. Dylan Kruger agreed, noting a plan to build pickleball courts at Pebble Hill Park in Tsawwassen was cancelled, but there other potentially more ideal sites.