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What will the City of Delta do to alleviate pickleball noise?

Since 2019, the city has added 36 new pickleball courts for a total of 59 throughout the community
A canopy that’s currently surrounding the pickleball courts at Cromie Park is a windscreen that was installed when the facility first opened. The city investigating noise mitigation strategies for the site.

The City of Delta says it will investigate further noise strategies for pickleball courts.

That was the staff response to a recent letter to council from a Ladner resident upset about the noise generated from the pickleball courts at Cromie Park, which were installed in 2020. Also attached to the letter was a petition with almost 20 names asking for the pickleball courts at the park to be removed.

The memo from staff notes that the addition of pickleball at the park had been “unanimously supported by the community” during a 2019 consultation process, however, the concerned resident said residents were unaware of the type and level of noise the game would generate and how it would disturb the neighbourhood.

The memo noted the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) recently released newly developed provincial guidelines to inform municipal noise mitigation strategies as a first step in the process of pickleball guideline development in B.C.

“It is recommended that staff review the courts at Cromie Park in reference to the new guidelines, and investigate further noise mitigation strategies with a view to alleviating residential noise concerns,” the memo added.

The Parks, Recreation and Culture Department told the Optimist there are some acoustic dampening products that may be viable, including some that are similar to a windscreen that is in place around the Cromie courts, but with sound-dampening qualities, however, further evaluation is needed.

The city last year decided that it needed to wait for new provincial standards by the association, in consultation with Pickleball B.C., before adding any new courts in Delta.

In a letter to Pickleball Canada and Pickleball BC in February 2022, Mayor George Harvie said Delta had made significant investments in the growth of pickleball infrastructure, but they have been hearing concerns from neighbours about the noise generated.

“As we seek to balance the interests of everyone in the community, we need to be cautious about new investment in pickleball facilities until the noise issue can be addressed,” wrote Harvie.

A Delta report noted that staff had met with representatives of the Delta Pickleball Association to identify and prioritize future locations for new or improved pickleball courts, but the city backed away from a plan to add pickleball courts as part of improvements at Pebble Hill Park in Tsawwassen due to overwhelming opposition from the community concerned about the noise.

While sites identified for pickleball were viable from a functional standpoint in terms of necessary area and supporting park amenities, the location at Pebble Hill Park was in close proximity to residential properties, the report noted, adding that a more appropriate site in South Delta would be sought.

The Vancouver Pickleball Association already identified minimum distances and associated mitigation measures for the placement of outdoor pickleball courts in residential neighbourhoods.

The City of Delta also dropped pickleball as part of planned upgrades at Endersby Park in North Delta last year.