Meadow Lake tennis enthusiasts seek official club

by Phil Ambroziak

Tennis anyone?

Meadow Lake residents Gavin Van de Venter and Clint Pigott certainly hope so, but only if they are successful in establishing a not-for-profit tennis club in the community that would both utilize and preserve the new tennis courts developed adjacent to Jonas Samson Junior High School.

During the Sept. 10 meeting of Meadow Lake city council, the long-time tennis partners shared their proposal with local legislators in an effort to garner both support and a sense of what direction to take their ideas.

“We are both rabid lovers of tennis and we would love to see tennis promoted in Meadow Lake,” Van de Venter said. “We are suggesting the creation of a Meadow Lake tennis club with a formal committee, AGMs and four to five representatives including a representative from city council.”

Van de Venter went on to congratulate the city on the success of the 2012 Saskatchewan Summer Games, stating there is now a group of dedicated residents (and tennis aficionados) interested in the future of the new tennis courts, which were developed as a Summer Games legacy project. He believes an official club could help address this interest.

“The existing tennis courts (at Westview Playground) have been irreparably damaged and would need to be resurfaced if they are ever to be used properly,” he said. “Now, however, we have four state-of-the-art tennis courts, which have been attracting all sorts of people since the conclusion of the Games. If we’re going to protect these courts from also falling into disrepair, we need to identify potential problems and prevent them from happening.”

Van de Venter said tennis courts are traditionally resurfaced every six to eight years at a cost of around $6,000 per court. He also said he has already witnessed people skateboarding on the new courts, sitting on the nets, climbing the fence and running their dogs on the courts, something that must be prevented if the courts are to be used to their full capacity.

“Saskatchewan Tennis is also on a drive to promote grassroots tennis endeavours, and want to use our courts to host tennis tournaments,” he said. “We also suggest the creation of tennis programs, which include school children.”

The presence of an official tennis club, he continued, would assist with all of these initiatives.

“We could restrict control of the courts by installing an electronic keypad and providing an access code to club members only,” he said. “It would become a facility similar to the golf club or aquatic centre.”

Van de Venter reiterated the not-for-profit aspect of the club, stating the city would not be required to fund anything related to tournaments or other ongoing activities.

Summer Games co-chair Glen Winkler was also in attendance for the meeting. He expressed the Games committee’s support for the tennis club proposal.

“We’re hoping that, as the books get finalized, there will be some dollars left to possibly consider some sort of security for the courts,” Winkler said. “A punch pad would be a good investment. As far as the Summer Games committee is concerned, this is the perfect model for what we’re looking at.”

At the conclusion of the delegation, Mayor Gary Vidal said council would take time to consider the proposal and would respond formally in the near future.

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