CANMORE – After a long process, an ace of a grant toward a tennis court expansion in Canmore was the game, set, match needed for a local club.
The Canmore Tennis Association (CTA) received $125,000 from the Alberta government for its proposed expansion of the public tennis court facility at Lions Park, which would overhaul the aging three-court set up into a new four-court regulation size play area.
Described as the "last piece of the puzzle," the CTA is hopeful the funds from the Community Facility Enhancement Program allow for a groundbreaking of the new courts in spring 2022, which aligns with the Town of Canmore's projected timeline as well.
"This is something that’s been needed for a number of years," said Ron Remple, CTA's incoming president. "The courts were built in the 1980s when there was a far fewer population in Canmore than there is now.
"Hopefully what we’re looking at in 2022, the second quarter of 2022, that the Town’s breaking ground on this and moving forward. That’s the goal."
Increasing in size by at least 33 per cent, the proposed design would significantly reconfigure the outdoor play area so that players won't be facing the sun at dusk. There will be added capacity and safety measures with a four-metre space between courts and an eight-metre space between baselines and fence.
"Right now the distance between the courts is unsafe," said Remple. "This is one of the ways that it's going to be able to be upgraded so the courts are regulation distance apart, regulation distance from the end line to the back fence and it’ll make the playing experience so much more effective and a better experience for everyone who gets to play on these. These are public courts so it's important that they be safe and up to regulation size."
Remple added the new design replacing the 40-year-old set-up will be more accessible for people living with mobility issues and will include a widened access gate and a level walking path to the courts.
The playground facility next to the courts will be moved to a new location in Lions Park and reinvigorated at the same time as the expansion construction.
The project is included in Canmore's 2022 capital plan, which will be up to the incoming council to approve as part of the budget.
The project has raised $630,000 from grants, community fundraising and a significant portion through the Town of Canmore.
"I think something worth highlighting is the variety of funding sources," said Scott McKay, Canmore's manager of recreation. "One of which being the CTA has done some fundraising for it so it's not just grant funding and municipal dollars going into it. The CTA has stepped up with some dollars there."
The Canmore tennis club has more than 200 members and the CTA estimates approximately 4,000 people use the courts at Lions Park annually.
CTA has previously applied for government funding for expansion, which has been shot down on several occasions during Remple's four years with the CTA, making this last piece well worth the wait.
"I'm really glad to see it moving forward because it's going to be a great asset for the town," he said.