Thursday, August 01, 2013

Protests against the proposed tennis courts in Cedar Hill Park

There is a group calling itself Save Cedar Hill Park that is opposed to the proposed addition of clay court tennis courts in the park by the Cedar Hill Clay Court Tennis Society.   I do not know if this is a group or just one person that put the website together, based what I can find out there it seems to be a vocal minority and not much more than that.

 Honestly I find the opposition odd after reviewing the proposal and seeing that Saanich has to contribute very little for the construction of the facility.  This is within in park that is mainly a golf course which is not free to the public.

Many of the outdoor municipal tennis courts in Victoria are not well maintained so to have a facility built that would have someone else look after them and a revenue stream to cover the costs makes a lot of sense.  Tennis is a popular sport be really does require better quality facilities and a municipal park is a reasonable location for them

I am do not think the tennis courts are much of a threat to the park because the space they are going into is not used much at all.  My kids lived with their mother in the immediate area for several years and never did I see any significant use of the ball diamonds.  At the moment is an unnatural environment that is mowed by large mowers which drip oil and other fluids onto the field which then gets into the ground.   I note this because one of the more absurd objections to the clay courts is that there might be some run off issues for the Bowker Creek tributary in the park.

When it comes to the Bowker Creek tributary, I can not see how the clay courts could have a measurable impact on the creek when compared to the impact of the golf course.   Whatever is going on with Bowker Creek tributary at the clay court site, the primary impact is from the golf course.   Nothing has been done to alter the unnatural environment of the golf course to improve the drainage.

Another complaint is that this would be a private facility.   Not for profit societies operate various different facilities within parks so this is not anything new or different than is done elsewhere.  We have baseball diamonds and soccer fields all over the place that are looked after by not for profits.   We have not for profit groups that have buildings on park land.  This is not something new or different.

I find the concern about the loss of the open space for public use weird given that there will remain a larger and nicer open space to the north and east of the proposed clay courts.  The total area of the courts will be something on the order of 1 hectare in a park that is 54 hectares and has close to 1 hectare of land covered by buildings.

This park, because of the golf course, is not one that can offer a natural environment.   Lawns are un-natural, just because people like the look of them does not make them a natural eco-system.   If there is a desire of have a natural eco-system in the park, the first thing that needs to happen is the golf course has to come out.  The natural eco-system based park role is served by Mount Tolmie and Swan Lake in this area.

The proposal is a good one and should happen.
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