Members of City of White Rock council, some of whom previously supported the idea of building pickleball courts in Maccaud Park, have voted unanimously against the proposal.
At Monday’s (April 12) regular council meeting, Couns. Erika Johanson and Christopher Trevelyan requested that a motion to no longer consider pickleball courts in the park be reconsidered. The request was supported by council 7-0.
Council initially voted 6-1 at its March 8 regular meeting to further discuss building pickleball courts in Maccaud Park, located at 1475 Kent St.
Last month, Peace Arch News published an article outlining former White Rock councillor and Freeman of the City Vin Coyne’s concerns that adding pickleball courts would run contrary to the wishes of the late Irene (Renee) Maccaud-Nelson, a noted environmentalist who sold the property to the city in 1968 under the condition that it be left as a park.
Coyne, who was representing the city at the time, is the only living participant of the negotiations to purchase the park from Maccaud. Others involved included the city’s lawyer and chief administrative officer at the time.
Coyne said there was a “gentleman’s agreement with a great lady” that the park be kept as a “passive” greenspace, with exception of the Kent Street Activity Centre, “which she fully supported.”
During discussion at Monday’s council meeting, Johanson told council the PAN article “lacked research” and was “based on one person’s recollection.”
“Since then, we’ve heard from a few residents who did know Mrs. Maccaud personally. One of them stood in front of a bulldozer to stop any more trees to be felled in order to construct Kent Street Activity Centre. That was my main issue… we have a Kent Street Activity Centre, what was the big deal about pickleball courts? Now, I found out, there was a big deal,” Johanson said.
Chesney said he spoke to Coyne directly and asked about the issue regarding the Kent Street Activity Centre.
“He explained to me that was approved by Mrs. Maccaud,” Chesney said. “She didn’t have a problem with the actual construction of the Kent Street Activity Centre and she felt it was very important for the seniors in our community.”
Coun. Scott Kristjanson, who initially supported construction of pickleball courts in the park, said public feedback received by council changed his position.
“I felt this should be a slam dunk, but I have heard, as we all have, basically 25-to-one against this. I’ve always said that I represent the people, so even though I would love to see pickleball courts there, people spoke and they don’t seem to want this,” Kristjanson said.
Trevelyan, who lives near the park, said neighbours are not supportive of the courts.
“We do have pickleball courts in White Rock (located in Centennial Park), we could use more. But South Surrey is also building courts as well,” Trevelyan said. “I think it’s really important to respect the wishes of Mrs. Maccaud, listen to Freeman of the City Mr. Coyne, and also respect residents who live in the area who use the park on a daily basis.”
During the meeting, council received a petition against the pickleball courts bearing 100 signatures.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated Coun. Helen Fathers was not present at the council meeting. A correction has been made to indicate that she was present, and she supported Couns. Johanson and Trevelyan’s motion.