In reporting on and writing about Niagara-on-the-Lake, we make frequent trips to the town’s many sports parks and recreational facilities.
It was a sad sight last week at Centennial Sports Park in Virgil, as kids with racquets were forced to play in the parking lot, instead of on the perfectly good pickleball outdoor courts that are sitting unused.
To anyone who’s been following our coverage, it won’t come as a shock to know the town closed the courts after one resident took legal action against the town over noise from the court.
The neighbour claimed it is “torture” to hear the sound of people out having fun, playing pickleball. It’s a wild world.
But it’s a true shame our town was so quick to close the courts over what seems a frivolous accusation.
What about the other 17,999 of us? What about those kids playing in the parking lot?
For kids to have to play in the middle of a parking lot because the town is too worried about the litigious nature of one resident is an embarrassment – one for which council members, town administrators and lawyers can rightly be criticized. In their defence, we assume it was a decision recommended by legal counsel.
We’re hoping the ludicrousness of that decision has already been recognized and that’s why the town has changed its noise bylaw to permit “noise” in its recreational facilities.
We wonder how the original flawed bylaw came to pass and we wonder further why the town’s immediate response was to penalize the community of pickleball players.
We are hopeful the court in Welland will side with the pickleball folks when it rules in two weeks. Meanwhile, the town needs to reopen those courts again – and please avoid such knee-jerk decisions in future.
Not only is it a heartbreaking sight to see perfectly good, taxpayer-funded equipment sitting unused, it’s also an issue of safety for the children who are now forced to play in the parking lot.