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Salmon Arm's indoor tennis put on hold

Idea: A conceptual drawing of the proposed tennis facility. - Photo contributed
Idea: A conceptual drawing of the proposed tennis facility.
— image credit: Photo contributed

Plans for an indoor tennis facility were hit by a brutalizer recently, when two potential funding sources disappeared.

In September, city council gave its blessing to plans for the facility when Salmon Arm Tennis Club member Ken Hecker came to a council meeting to describe the project.

Located on the edge of Little Mountain Park at 3440 Okanagan Ave. SE, the club would like to build a 20,800 square foot, three-court indoor steel-frame facility with washrooms to complement its four outdoor courts.

The budget for the new facility is $875,000. At that time, the club anticipated getting a construction loan for the majority of the cost but would need city backing as required by its financial institution. The club had already received $5,000 from Tennis BC and was expecting a $131,000 facilities grant from Tennis Canada. It was also going to seek corporate, federal and provincial grants for the remainder.

But so far it’s been bad news on both fronts.

The Tennis Canada grant went to Fredericton, NB. Hecker explains that the New Brunswick city is larger, plus it will be putting in six courts rather than three.

“Plus the province of New Brunswick put in a million towards the project – and of course Tennis Canada is going to pay attention to that.”

Unwelcome word also came to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, whose grant application to the province’s Community Recreation Program for $400,000 in indoor tennis facility funding was not successful.

“We were very optimistic because of positive statements from everyone, we had an executive business plan in place...,” said Hecker. “So we went from a high degree of optimism to a little bit of discouragement, but it’s a good project and everything is in place to continue.”

He said the tennis club will continue looking for funding sources for the facility.

“I think the wishes of everyone involved is that we continue. We certainly have everything in place.”

In his September presentation to council, Hecker noted that tennis is a growing sport in Canada and the facility would be a regional draw. Locally, the club now has 208 members, its highest number ever. Hecker said tennis is a sport that attracts young and old and an indoor facility would have economic spinoffs for the community because the club would be able to attract regional players and host tournaments.

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