An interest group is making the case for Penticton to build an indoor tennis facility, to accomodate players year-round.
City council heard a presentation during the committee of the whole on Dec. 3 from Dr. Ali Moshaver, a representative for the group, who provided stats that indicate more children signed up for tennis last year than hockey in Canada.
“This is now the fastest growing sport in Canada. Last year, Tennis Canada reported that more kids were enrolled in tennis programs than any other sport, that includes hockey,” said Moshaver. “So we’re no longer a hockey nation, we’re also becoming a tennis nation.”
Moshaver acknowledged that the current outdoor courts in Penticton can serve the community for roughly half of the year, but he said a public, air-supported indoor tennis bubble would accomodate users year-round and encourage increased usage.
He added that during his research for his presentation, he found that in 1982 the city’s bubble was “highly used, despite problems here or there that got fixed.”
“When I reviewed the minutes (from council at that time), it was really the South Okanagan Events Centre that was the trigger. The discussion was, as you remove (the bubble), you’re going to put it somewhere else,” said Moshaver. “But unfortunately, 13 years later it still has not materialized.”
With the recent opening of Salmon Arm’s indoor tennis facility, Moshaver said this has reignited the Penticton tennis community’s interest in constructing a similar facility here.
“We would like to restart the dialogue, the timing could not be better. Tennis is growing, not only in the country but in the Valley,” said Moshaver. “So we are here to collaborate … If Salmon Arm, with half our population, can support something like that, why can’t we?”
Moshaver estimated that a public facility of this type would cost roughly $300,000 to $400,000, but this could be offset by a “modest user fee.”
Coun. Jake Kimberley said the challenge with this idea is finding city land that could accomodate the facility, but Coun. Judy Sentes added that it was time for the city to revisit the proposal.
Council voted to direct staff to look at the idea and bring a report with recommendations to a future council meeting.
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