The future of the Rainbow Recreation Centre site became more clear on Tuesday after the Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission approved a final conceptual design to guide development of the 7.82-acre recreational property on Rainbow Road.
The 20-year master plan includes relocating four outdoor tennis court facilities from Portlock Park to Rainbow Road, as well as adding four pickleball courts as part of a larger covered multi-court structure in another area. Space by the existing pool is allocated for addition of a leisure/therapy pool with a steamroom and sauna, waterslide and indoor activity space. Two playground areas (one for toddlers and another for older kids) would be added, along with a nature trail and a lawn area for informal gatherings. The allotment gardens will remain in their current spot, while the existing dog park would be eliminated in future and possibly moved to another spot on the property. Additional parking spots are also planned.
While some discussion arose about whether or not pickleball lines could be added to one of the tennis courts to increase capacity for that growing-in-popularity sport, no change to the draft plan was suggested.
“I think keeping the tennis and pickleball people separated as much as possible would do nothing but good because good fences make for good neighbours,” commented commission member Drew Takahashi at the PARC meeting.
“I like what we’ve done here,” summarized commissioner Sean Norgard. “I like the plan. And I think it gives us maximum flexibility for what we can do at Portlock Park,” referencing the space that will be freed up once tennis courts are no longer at Portlock.
Next steps are to obtain approval from the Agricultural Land Commission, as the site falls within the Agricultural Land Reserve, and the Islands Trust. A final master plan and report is expected to be published in September.
None of the changes outlined in the plan will be acted on immediately and some, like a leisure pool, would require public approval to borrow funds to build the amenity.
The final draft design was created following PARC/CRD staff and community stakeholder workshops held in the fall of 2021, and two public surveys that followed. The first survey received 900 responses and the second, where three different conceptual designs were presented, attracted 763 responses. That feedback was used to develop the design approved by PARC.