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Mayor’s Mailbag – April 2024 Roundup – Pickleball; Making Burlington Greener; & Trees in Tansley Woods

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Mailbag – April 2024 roundup.

The Mayor’s Monday Mailbag is a weekly initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at mayor@burlington.ca or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Mailbag – April 2024 Roundup

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PICKLEBALL AT IRELAND PARK

QUESTION:

“What happened to the pickleball pilot program at Ireland Park?”

ANSWER:

Last year, the City of Burlington ran a pilot program at Ireland Park for exclusive pickleball times on the multi-use course. After receiving complaints from tennis players and casual pickleball players about the perceived club and tournament play at the courts, the City has decided not to proceed with the pilot. The courts can still be used by both tennis and pickleball players, subject to the regular half hour time limit operating model for outdoor courts.

Since last summer, the City has built two pickleball-exclusive courts at Leighland Park and more are planned for installation Palmer Park later this summer. Outdoor pickleball and tennis courts have already opened for the 2024 season, please visit burlington.ca for more.

A staff report with updates and recommendations for a shared court pilot at Ireland Park is coming to the Committee of the Whole meeting today (April 8). Click tap/here to read the report. (ADMINISTRATOR’S NOTE: The recommendation was approved by Council on April 16. See the minutes from that meeting here.)

Below are some frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) for additional details.

Q: How long was this pilot in place?

A: This pilot ran for one season, April to October 2023.

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Q: Why was the pilot cancelled?

A: Players were not following courtesy rules such as the 30-minute time limit, first come, first serve and players not linked with an association were unable to play. Associations were holding organized tournaments at the courts, preventing others from playing. Tennis players also felt unfairly excluded from using the courts.

When fair access to the courts was not followed, the residents not associated with the large groups felt uncomfortable and unable to speak up.

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Q: Can I still play pickleball at Ireland Park?

A: Yes! The courts will be returned to shared use for tennis and pickleball.

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Q: Can members of organized sport groups still use public courts in Burlington?

A: All community members are welcome on outdoor public courts. All players are required to rotate onto courts in order of arrival and follow the courtesy-sharing time limit of 30-minutes maximum per singles or doubles’ group. Public outdoor courts are meant for casual matches. Tournaments or club league play are not allowed on these courts.

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Q: Did the exclusive use pilot relieve demand for pickleball courts?

A: No. There was no significant reduction in demand for outdoor pickleball courts.

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Q: How did the City evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot?

A: The City evaluated through comments and complaints from residents, tennis players and pickleball players, as well as using information gathered by consultants for the Live and Play Plan review.

Consultants collated recreation Live and Play Plan input from in-person meetings, Get Involved survey input, and interviews conducted with staff, elected officials and community groups. Staff and consultants also collected feedback at events held for community member input at Food for Feedback and Robert Bateman engagements. Focused engagement with the Burlington Pickleball Association, and independent tennis and pickleball players who voiced concerns through Service Burlington, have also been considered in the pilot review process.

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Q: When will the Live and Play Plan review be completed?

A: The Live and Play Plan will be completed later this spring. The consulting team will have done a best practice review and have a recommendation on how to manage the demands of pickleball.

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Q:  Is pickleball demand an issue for other municipalities?

A: Yes, other municipalities are experiencing the same high demand.

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MAKING BURLINGTON GREENER

QUESTION:

“How can I help make the City of Burlington greener?”

ANSWER:

Through the month of April, the City of Burlington and BurlingtonGreen are connecting residents with opportunities to take action on climate change.

Tree Giveaway

The City is giving away 500 trees to residents. To receive a free, four-to-five-foot tree, you must register in advance and have a vehicle able to safely transport the tree. There are several types of trees available and quantities are limited.

The giveaway event will happen on Saturday, April 27, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Roads, Parks and Forestry Operation Centre Parking Lot, 897 Cumberland Ave. Please note, pick up time is dependent on the species selected.

Registration is open now until Tuesday, April 23. To register for a tree, please visit the City’s Get Involved Burlington webpage.

Earth Day Tree Planting Event

In partnership with BurlingtonGreen, a community tree-planting event will take place at Pathfinder Park on Saturday, April 20 starting at 9:30 a.m. (rain or shine). Residents are invited to join BurlingtonGreen and City staff in planting 500 native trees.

Advance registration is needed at burlingtongreen.org. Please note that space is limited.

Celebrate Earth Day with BurlingtonGreen

Residents can visit the BurlingtonGreen Eco-Hub at Burlington Beach on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. where a variety of fun and family-friendly eco-activities will be taking place, including: pollinator seed ball making, shoreline cleanup, eco-trivia, and more.

BurlingtonGreen’s Annual Clean Up Green Up

BurlingtonGreen is aiming to see 12,000 people participate in their annual Clean Up Green Up this year. Residents, schools, groups and businesses are invited to be a part of this city-wide event cleaning up litter from Burlington’s parks, school yards and neighbourhoods.

More information about Earth Day, Tree Planting and the Community Clean Up Green Up can be found at burlingtongreen.org

Links and Resources:

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CUT DOWN TREES IN TANSLEY WOODS

QUESTION:

“We’ve been noticing trees in the woodlot near Tansley Woods Park and Community Centre are being cut down — what’s happening there?”

ANSWER:

City of Burlington staff have been investigating an issue of illegal cutting down of trees in the Tansley woodlot, near Tansley Woods Park and Tansley Woods Community Centre, after receiving numerous complaints from the public. In addition to the illegal cutting, staff have noticed that trees are also being illegally marked.

Once the identity of those involved are determined, staff will then be able to lay charges under the City’s Public Tree Bylaw.

A reminder for the community that trees in Burlington on both public and private property are not allowed to be cut down or marked without approval by the City.

If there are concerns related to the conditions of trees, members of the community are asked to contact Service Burlington at city@burlington.ca or 905-335-7777 to submit a service request so that staff can come out and investigate.

Additionally, anyone with information about the illegal cutting and marking of trees at Tansley or elsewhere in the city are encouraged to contact staff and report it through Service Burlington.

We thank everyone for their cooperation on this matter.

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