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Issues surrounding the Cedar Hill Clay Court Tennis Society proposal

The proposal by the Cedar Hill Clay Court Tennis Society (CHCCTS) may be presented to Saanich Council’s Committee of the Whole at some point this fall. This is for construction of the eight clay tennis courts, plus a pavilion on the existing playing fields behind the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre.

The Quadra/Cedar Hill Community Association has assisted over the past twenty months in facilitating a respectful consultation between the proponent and the neighbourhood. It is apparent that this proposal is very controversial with various parties being for and against. Outstanding issues include:

  • Problematic public engagement process – we are receiving many messages from neighbours who state that, despite coverage in our newsletter and the local press, they have not been informed of this planned redevelopment of their park.
  • The largest complaint is that there had not been a large sign advising of the planned development (one has since been erected).
  • Complaints have also been made regarding the structure of the open house held in the fall of 2012 and the resultant survey conducted by Saanich Parks.
  • Loss of green space and the playing field – once this space is developed it is essentially gone forever. The neighbours will lose one of the few recreation fields in their area, regardless of the current level of use.
  • Environmental effects on Bowker Creek – CHCCTS has been meeting with the Bowker Creek Initiative and Saanich representatives, although we have not as yet seen a firm plan for the requested comprehensive restoration to the creek that could balance out the loss of the existing playing fields.
  • The issue of Saanich handing over public land to a non-profit society for their near exclusive use. A public discussion must be held on the merits of the CHCCTS proposal and its potential benefits to our community. In fairness, it should be noted that this request by the CHCCTS for the same models has been used by other non-profits for use of public lands.
  • Potential financial implications for Saanich taxpayers –a $100,000 grant is being offered, along with a $250,000 interest-free loan. What other costs will be borne by Saanich?
  • Who will pay for the requested restoration of the adjacent part of Bowker Creek?
  • What other uses for this space could be considered? Neighbours want to be asked to provide their ideas for alternatives – including the option to leave the space as it currently is.
  • Is Cedar Hill Park the correct location for the proposed facility? Have other locations been adequately sought out and considered?

Additionally, the location of this proposed project is located at the extreme southeast corner of our Association’s boundary and it doesn’t seem appropriate that only our Association has been consulted while input from neighbouring Community Associations has been neglected. Therefore, we have asked the other Associations – Camosun and Mt. Tolmie – to join us in consultations with any interested Saanich residents or groups.

Along with the Camosun and Mt. Tolmie Community Associations, we met with the Mayor to communicate our shared concerns. We do have a commitment from Mr. Leonard that any hearing before Saanich Council will be well advertised and be held in a larger venue than Council chambers to allow for the maximum number of interested community members to attend and voice their opinions.

For more information, please consult:

http://saanich.ca/parkrec/parks/projects/current/cedarhill-tennis.html

http://www.cedarhillclaytennis.net/ http://www.savecedarhillpark.com/

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