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Basketball ban at townhouse complex upheld by B.C. tribunal

This image shows a basketball hoop outside of a home. (Credit: Shutterstock) This image shows a basketball hoop outside of a home. (Credit: Shutterstock)
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Members of a B.C. housing co-operative have lost their bid to keep the basketball hoops they installed in their driveways, according to a recent decision from the civil resolution tribunal.

Two people who live in the townhouse complex challenged the ban which was established at the co-op's annual general meeting in 2022.

"The applicants say that the basketball hoop ban is unfair. They also say the ban discriminates against their children who need exercise to manage their medical conditions," the tribunal decision says, noting that the members were asking for an exemption to the ban but were also willing to abide by "reasonable restrictions" on when the hoops could be used.

The co-op, for its part, argued that the ban was voted upon by an "overwhelming majority" of members and that the resolution passed at the meeting is binding.

The names of both the members and the co-op are anonymized in order not to identify the children involved.

Ultimately, the tribunal sided with the co-op finding that the ban was neither unfair nor discriminatory.

The decision explains that both members installed the hoops in 2022 – and that two complaints from other residents soon followed.

One member complained that she was “listening to bouncing balls continuously” while another said their neighbour's son played basketball "constantly," according to the tribunal. In addition to the complaints, the co-op told the tribunal that members had "asked questions" about the hoops which is why they brought the issue to the annual general meeting.

At the meeting, members voted on an outright ban, rejecting proposals that the hoops be moved or hours restricted. The applicants argued that the decision was unfair and unreasonable because the co-op is a "family-oriented" community where children play outside regularly.

"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. 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," tribunal vice-chair Eric Regehr wrote.

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

The applicants also argued that the ban had an adverse impact on their children, who have disabilities – specifically ADHD and anxiety.

"The medical evidence for both children says that strenuous physical exercise helps them manage their symptoms. I accept that is true," Regehr said.

Regardless, the decision says that the applicants fell short of proving that the ban was discriminatory.

"The co-op has not prevented the children from engaging in strenuous physical exercise. As noted, the evidence shows that children engage in other types of outdoor play within the co-op. I find that the co-op’s obligations under the Code do not require it to ensure that the children can play their favourite sport within the co-op," Regehr said.

The claim was dismissed but the decision also noted that there is nothing that prevents them from raising the issue at a future co-op meeting, provided the proper processes are followed. 

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