Council serves tennis approvals

Indoor facility: Club hopes to have centre built within two years.

City council gave its collective blessing Monday night to plans for an indoor tennis facility in Salmon Arm.

Salmon Arm Tennis Club member Ken Hecker described the project, which required several variances from the city including an expansion of the area the club leases from the city.

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.

Hecker pointed to the club’s history, noting the club was formed and the courts built in 1977. The club has enjoyed a good relationship with the city and much support from local businesses and the community, and is currently debt-free.

The budget for the new facility is $875,000. The club anticipates getting a construction loan for the majority of the cost and would need city backing of the loan as required by its financial institution. The club has received $5,000 from Tennis BC and expects a $131,000 facilities grant from Tennis Canada. It will seek corporate, federal and provincial grants for the remainder.

Hecker noted that tennis is a growing sport in Canada. Locally, the club now has 208 members, its highest number ever, many of the new members junior players. Hecker said tennis is a sport that attracts young and old, and aside from the obvious health benefits, an indoor facility would have economic spinoffs for the community because the club would be able to attract regional players and host tournaments. He said players from the North Okanagan have expressed an interest in using the new facility.

Variances requested for the new facility included: • waiving the requirement to hard-surface offstreet parking and loading spaces, communal parking areas, driveways and accesses with concrete, asphalt or decorative brick; • increasing the maximum building height from 10 to 13.7 metres; • waiving the requirement to connect to the municipal storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems; upgrade the water main along the entire Okanagan Avenue frontage; and upgrade the entire Okanagan Avenue frontage to the complete urban local road standard.

City staff had recommended that all the variances be approved except for the requirement to hard-surface offstreet parking areas.

However, Hecker said the $100,000 cost of paving the parking lot would put the project’s budget out of reach, while gravelling the area would cost $12,000. He said the club would endeavour to pave as soon as finances would allow.

Because of the distance that would be required to extend the storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems to service the site (300 and 420 metres respectively), the club has proposed discharging storm water from the site to swales which lead to a low area to the south, outside the lease area in Little Mountain Park. Regarding sanitary sewer, the club would decommission the existing onsite septic system and provide a new septic system. Professional oversight and approvals would be required for both the storm sewer and sanitary sewer alternatives.

Although Coun. Alan Harrison left the discussions because of the potential for conflict of interest as he’s a tennis club member, all other councillors voiced their support for the proposal. They noted the addition of another winter recreational opportunity will be a bonus for the community.

Mayor Marty Bootsma refrained from comment, saying with a smile, “I’m not running again so I won’t say anything.”

If all goes according to plan, the club would like to see the facility built within the next two years.


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