Tennis players are once again making quite the racquet about bringing back an indoor facility.
Dr. Ali Moshaver served councillors a short presentation Tuesday afternoon, outlining why Penticton should bring back the tennis bubble that was lost in 2006 to the rise of the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“Venues are generally very cheap to build,” said Moshaver. “The operating costs, you can easily cover that with a modest user fee. It really doesn’t require a lot of space for grass, or anything else.”
Moshaver explained tennis has grown in popularity in Canada and is a social sport, and although Penticton has better climate than most other cities, still requires a bubble for the six months of cold weather.
“If you have a year-round facility, along with supporting staff and the coaches and etcetera, you’ll naturally begin seeing increased participation and growth. And of course it creates a sense of community for all of us.”
Moshaver said he was inspired to approach council after recently hearing Salmon Arm had a multi-million dollar facility built.
“Penticton has always had a bubble. I went back to the ’80s … there still was a bubble there, and it was highly used by the community (and now) we have nothing.”
The bubble was said to have been built in the 1970s by tennis club members.
Moshaver also suggested the bubble, which ideally would have up to four courts, would be run on a structured program with coaches on site.
Coun. Jake Kimberley, who was mayor when the SOEC was built, said a study had been done when the bubble was torn down.
“One of the places that they were talking about (relocating it to) was the Penticton courts on the lakeside,” he said. “Where that went, I don’t know, but it was a very good option to look at.”
Coun. Judy Sentes recalled King’s Park being considered at one point.
Coun. Julius Bloomfield suggested council review data in order to be certain the bubble could be supported by the community. Moshaver said that data is “easily available.”
The Penticton Tennis Club last approached council in 2017 in hopes of resurrecting the tennis bubble, but the idea never moved forward.
In the 2013, the club held a public consultation after pricing out a new facility at $1.2 million.
With the idea now in its court, council directed staff to proceed with exploring the possibility.