With a few top players, and several youngsters looking to make their mark in the next few years, Canadian tennis has never looked quite so good on the world stage.
With the clear potential for increased interest in the game, and some decaying local facilities, a few Golden recreational tennis players are hoping to take advantage of a granting opportunity and have the tennis courts resurfaced.
The bulk of the funding, should the grant application go forward and be successful, would come from Columbia Basin Trust under their current recreation initiative, which is primarily focused on capital infrastructure upgrades.
“The tennis courts (don’t) need ongoing operating and maintenance, but I think there’s a need, periodically, of a significant capital investment to resurface,” said Mike Cantle, a regular user of the facility and a member of a small group that brought this opportunity forward to Town staff.
It is estimated that it will cost $50,000 to resurface the three courts. Funding from CBT could cover up to 70 per cent (or $35,000) of that price tag with a successful application, leaving the Town on the hook for the final $15,000.
While playability has been affected by the deteriorating conditions of the courts, safety has also become a primary concern.
“Certainly in the area where it dips, that water pools,” said Lynda Conway, who also plays tennis regularly. “We maintain one specific court, we don’t do the other two courts, so often people are on those other courts and they are particularly dangerous because they are wet.”
A splitting of the court’s surface is another safety hazard, as little ruts become larger and increasingly hazardous as time drags on.
Jordan Petrovics, manager of recreation services, says it has been some time since the courts were last resurfaced and that the town is aware of the current challenges facing the facility.
One of the problematic aspects of the tennis courts as a Town facility is that no one is really sure just how many people are using them. There is a core group of locals, from both Golden and Area A, who play multiple times a week and the courts also see a great deal of usage from campers staying at the nearby Golden Municipal Campground.
Still, there are other summer evenings where the courts will remain completely vacant, and the only data the Town has on usage is purely anecdotal.
“Traditional practices for our tennis courts have been to manage it as a park, which makes it tricky when granting opportunities come up and you want to give them some meat and potatoes, or even with budget deliberations as a staff member to stand in front of council and justify why we should be spending a bunch of money on the courts,” Petrovics said, adding that council has not given his department the direction to begin tracking tennis court usage thus far.
The recreation funding opportunities from CBT will come in several different stages over the next few years, although the deadline for the first round of funding is rapidly approaching in the middle of March. According to Petrovics, the issue should be on the agenda at the next council meeting and he is inviting any of the facility’s users to submit letters of support to the recreation department.