This month’s OneAbility Community Spotlight is on Panorama Recreation Centre and their new Multi-Sport Court!
We sat down with Kim Say, the Panorama Community Recreation Coordinator to discuss the evolution of the new Jumpstart Multi Sport court, the inevitable challenges with implementing a new project and the power of community collaboration.
What is the multi-sport court and why was Panorama chosen as a recipient for one?
The Peninsula Recreation Commission was one of the first organizations across Canada to be gifted a 13,200 square foot multi-sport court by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation. The Peninsula Recreation Commission was gifted through Jumpstarts’ candidate for the gift to acknowledge our investment in accessible spaces and recreational programming. Not only does Panorama have fully accessible change rooms and accessible lift systems for the pool and hot tub, but we are also one of the only pools in British Columbia who have an accessible waterslide!
For reference, the Jumpstart Multi-Sport Court is designed for a variety of recreational sports and to provide inclusive play opportunities and accessible programming for all ages and abilities. Features of a multi-sport court include:
- Sport and para sport court lines for basketball and tennis (Tennis net set up coming soon)
- Sport court lines for volleyball, pickleball and badminton
- Adjustable basketball nets
- High contrast four-square court and hop-scotch play area
- Contrasting colours to support visual impairment
- Shaded double-wide benches for improved accessibility
- Wheelchair-accessible seating and tables
- Shaded accessible bleachers
- Hearing loop service
What are you most proud of with the multi-sport court opening?
My role and responsibility is to look at the multi-sport court through the lens of programming, and to ensure that the spectrum that makes up our community can access and play on the courts. I was proud of our successful efforts to connect with community members to incorporate their vision for using the court and associated services. We were able to develop a plan that aligns with our current community needs, and I really valued the engagement by our community members in contributing to this plan as it allowed us to be confident with our initial service offerings.
Our philosophy is to be inclusive and remove as many barriers as possible. Access to the court is not restrictive, zero or low cost, and we aim to include times that meet the desires of the community (such as low sensory times or times that prioritize social connection with certain groups).
The court has allowed us to have more breadth into our community. It has been great to see kids and families access our multi-sport court because in the past they would have to had to drive further into town to access accessible programming, and that was often a barrier to them consistently accessing physical activity and recreation. This physical space has led to deeper social connections and a stronger sense of belonging for members within the Peninsula community.
What were some unanticipated challenges with implementing the multi-sport court?
Similar to many organizations, COVID often impacted construction progress. Being a west coast based centre, we also were not expecting the impact of weather in constructing a court but dry, sunny days on the west coast are few and far in between. As a team, we focused back on what was in our circle of control and prioritized keeping our members updated on progress to ensure members felt engaged, even as we had to deal with frustrating delays.
What advice do you have to community members looking to implement similar structures or concepts?
Reach out to your community and ask questions! Being curious was fundamental to incorporating the various needs and ideas that the community brought forward. For example, our partnership with Island Health was instrumental in understanding what gaps existed in our area for Island Health clients, who were often community members of Panorama Recreation Centre. Through strong collaboration, we were able to identify service gaps and create opportunities we originally hadn’t considered to close gaps to recreation.
Further, having strong evaluation systems is key. We know that the use of the multi-sport court must remain flexible, and as an organization we remain open to adapting as the needs of the community changes. Putting processes in place to evaluate what is and isn’t working, and adjust accordingly was a priority in the inception of this program and we are excited to see how the use of the court evolves in years to come!
How did you involve collaboration in the creation of the multi-sport court?
When the project first began, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities led a virtual jumpstart community presentation for anyone to join and gather questions and recommendations from the public. The design of the court was completed by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities in consultation with their inclusion partners. Knowing the design, we wanted to liaise the diverse expertise in our community on accessibility and inclusion; it was important that we sought them out and included their recommendations for use of the court. Through this practice, we built trust and relationships with our community experts and members writ large, and this candor gives us confidence in the continued positive impact of the multi-sport court.
The power of networking that came from engaging with the OneAbility monthly forums was really integral to the success of this project. For example, at a member forum, we connected with Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and as a result they have been using the court through the month of July and we hope to see them back each year! It has been fun to watch partnerships flourish as a result of working on this project together. Our relationship with PISE and OneAbility got bigger and better as a result of collaborating through this project. The cumulative impact of these small partnerships was very motivating for Panorama Recreation Centre.
We thank Greater Victoria Canadian Tire Dealers, and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities for their support!