Tennis players on Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada, filed a legal petition to restrict pickleball players from utilizing their courts, insisting that the facilities should remain “exclusively dedicated to tennis.” However, B.C.’s Supreme Court decided to dismiss.
In the verdict from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, this group of tennis players played a key role in raising funds for the construction of the courts. However, they expressed their desire to restrict the utilization of these courts solely to tennis-related activities.
The petition was specifically addressed to the Mayne Island Community Centre Society (MICCS), the entity responsible for owning and managing the courts. The ruling highlights an oral agreement exists between the society and the tennis group, a mutual understanding that dates back over a decade.
Courts Usage Policy
The court document read, “The 2007 Agreement provided for the establishment of a Tennis Committee as a permanent standing committee of the MICCS. It is common ground that members were never appointed to the Tennis Committee and it did not function or operate in any manner.”
After the initial agreement, the group claims it had the right to “set the tennis courts usage policy.” Subsequently, in 2008, a new agreement was formed with the creation of the Mayne Island Tennis Association (MITA).
According to the MITA’s interpretation of the agreement, they were granted authority over determining the courts’ usage, strictly limiting it to tennis activities only.
Mayne Island Pickleball Club
In 2021, the Mayne Island Pickleball Club made a request to access the courts for pickleball play, which was initially denied. However, in the following year, the pickleball club was granted access with a stipulation: they could reserve the courts for a total of 21 hours per week, leaving the same duration available for members of the tennis club to utilize.
Well, the saga over Mayne Island's courts continues. Last month, new leadership at the local community centre decided to let the pickleball club onto the disputed territory—but the tennis group that developed and manages the courts said not so fast https://t.co/PkrGfSwcdw— Ben Mussett (@mussettb) April 11, 2022
The court document continues: “The petitioners filed this petition to seek relief for what they describe as the unfair and unlawful actions of the MICCS in granting pickleball players access to the tennis courts. They also assert that the MICCS oppressed them. They seek orders to restore their purported exclusive authority to determine how the tennis courts are used.
“The petitioners further assert that the MICCS’s creation of the Courts Committee usurped the exclusive role that MITA played in determining the usage policy of the tennis courts. They contend that some of the new members of the MICCS board of directors are in a conflict of interest because of their expressed interest in pickleball.”
However, MICCS states the old agreement stating the exclusive rights for the tennis group fails to “reflect an agreement between MICCS and MITA.”
The document says, “MICCS owns the tennis courts and exercises its authority over their use through the decisions of its board of directors.”
The judge ended up dismissing the case, and summed up by saying, “I do not believe that MICCS ever intended to cede ownership and/or absolute decision-making authority over the tennis courts to MITA, a non-legal entity that does not have the capacity to own anything, let alone land.”
“The evidence clearly establishes that MICCS is the registered owner in fee simple of the land on which the tennis courts were built. It owns the tennis courts. They are assets on its balance sheets as is the bank balance in the tennis fund. This is not merely some financial technicality. The financial reports of MICCS reflect its financial affairs. This includes the tennis courts and bank account as part of its assets.”
The judge also stated that allowing pickleball players to use the courts “does not warrant judicial intervention.”
This great article also covers the sometimes uneasy relationship between pickleball and tennis.
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