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No basketball for kids at B.C. co-op, tribunal rules

"The nature of all children’s play is that it can sometimes be loud."
basketball Getty
Kids at a Richmond, B.C., cooperative housing complex won't be playing basketball any time soon.

Residents of a Richmond, B.C., cooperative housing society have lost their bid to have kids’ basketball hoops put back up.

In a June 14 B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, vice-chair Eric Regehr said the unnamed housing cooperative banned hoops at its December 2022 general meeting.

At the time, Regehr said, there were three hoops, two of which were in the driveways of A.B. and C.D., who made the tribunal complaint.

“The applicants say that the basketball hoop ban is unfair,” Regehr said. “They also say the ban discriminates against their children who need exercise to manage their medical conditions.”

While the decision was anonymized to protect the children’s identities, Glacier Media has learned the cooperative is in Richmond.

A.B. and C.D. sought an order that the co-op exempt their basketball hoops from the ban, with a reasonable restriction on playing times, or reimburse them $960 for the hoops’ cost.

On the other hand, the co-op claimed an overwhelming majority of members opposed having basketball hoops, and that the resolution banning them was binding on the co-op.

The cooperative asked Regehr to dismiss the claim.

Hoops put up in 2022

A.B. and C.D. put portable basketball hoops up on their driveways in 2022. Another put one up in 2020 but that person was not a party to the case.

A.B. and C.D. argued the cooperative is advertised as family-friendly and could allow the hoops in a fenced street hockey area.

Regehr said the cooperative received two complaints about the hoops.

“They said that the children sometimes darted into the road to chase the ball,” Regehr wrote. “They noted that there is a public basketball court next to the co-op that children should use.”

A.B. and C.D. said their children are not always comfortable using that court because there are older teenagers and adults there.

“While that may be true, I find that it does not mean that the co-op has prevented the applicants’ children from getting adequate exercise when the park’s court is occupied,” the tribunal member said.

Regehr said meeting minutes noted the basketball hoops created loud noises and safety concerns.

“I appreciate that in some sense, it might seem arbitrary for the co-op to allow street hockey, volleyball, slip-and-slides, and other rambunctious children’s play but prohibit basketball,” Regehr said. “The nature of all children’s play is that it can sometimes be loud. However, I do not agree that it is reasonable for the applicants to expect that members must accept all play equally. Some sports are louder and more disruptive than others.”

The ruling said directors canvassed whether the members would agree to move the basketball hoops to the co-op’s designated street hockey area, but the members said no.

“The directors also discussed allowing the existing basketball hoops to be exempt from any new rule, but again the members said no,” Regehr said. “The members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution banning basketball hoops in the co-op.”

Regehr found the community has indicated through its vote that driveway basketball crosses the line of acceptable noise levels for children’s play.

“As noted, democratic decisions are entitled to some deference because they express a community sentiment,” he said.

Regehr also said having restricted hours for basketball as suggested would not alleviate the safety concerns.

He also said A.B. and C.D.’s request for an exemption from the ban was unreasonable.

“In such a dense community, it would defeat the ban’s purpose if the three basketball hoops could remain,” he said.