Courting outrage

BASKETBALL would be impossible to play at nearly all outdoor courts if draft state noise guidelines were applied, Stirling mayor Mark Irwin warns.

The WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has drafted guidelines on “minimising noise impact from outdoor community basketball facilities”. 

The guidelines come after a series of suburban courts being shut down in recent years due to complaints under existing state noise laws, in Victoria Park, Capel, Joondalup, and one in Stirling.

The current draft doesn’t propose a retroactive ban on existing courts, but recommends small courts are a minimum of 60m from any residence, and full courts should be 100-150m away from residences. 

While they’re billed as “guidelines” rather than laws, Mr Irwin still warns their presence could loom over councils and “inevitably” influence decision-making, possibly leading to costly modifications or more court closures.

“If we simply applied the proposed regulations to our existing outdoor courts, 25 out of the City’s 29 outdoor facilities, or over 86 per cent, would be non-compliant,” Mr Irwin said in a media statement. 

“While the City of Stirling is seeking to increase accessibility to outdoor courts to meet this demand, including through shared-use arrangements with local schools, these draft Guidelines appear to be doing the opposite.”

DWER is currently taking feedback from councils about the draft until March 3. 

Earlier this week sport and recreation minister David Templeman watered down fears of a halfcourt fatwa, saying it was “common sense” that young people needed places to throw a hoop, and that residents living near parks needed to be understanding.

The draft guidelines also earned the ire of Basketball WA; Stirling’s community development director Michael Quirk was appointed to its board last year.


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