Councillor pushing for new tennis bubble

Notice of motion by Coun. Jeannie Kanakos to be debated Monday night

Will an indoor tennis bubble be built by Delta after all?

That’s what Coun. Jeannie Kanakos is hoping for, having put forward a notice of motion at last week’s council meeting for the city to look at building a new facility to replace the one that will be lost at the Delta Town & Country.

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The motion is to be debated at the next council meeting on Aug. 13.

Kanakos along with Heather King voted against Gateway’s proposed $70 million hotel/casino complex, but she was in the minority as the rest of council voted in favour of granting final approval. She then put forward a couple of motions including one regarding the tennis bubble.

The casino project, which has some final hurdles including a dispute resolution with the City of Richmond before shovels can enter the ground, would see the existing tennis bubble demolished along with the current hotel. That’s drawn the ire of the private tennis club using the facility, which has banded with other tennis players in the city, calling on Gateway or the city to build a replacement facility.

Parks, recreation and culture director Ken Kuntz during the last day of the public hearing on the casino application announced discussions were happening behind the scene to come up with a solution. Those discussions involved other groups as well. Short on details, and saying it was still early in the process, he noted other seasonal sports are now becoming year-round and would like an indoor facility.

As far as what’s being explored, Kuntz told the Optimist in a subsequent interview the option that has a good chance of moving forward is a facility for multiple sports, not just tennis.

“I’ll continue to say that there’s a much greater chance of us bringing something to life that involves more than just tennis. Certainly, the kind of playing surface that accommodates tennis can accommodate pickleball, it can accommodate basketball, it can accommodate a variety of sports, and to serve a broader segment of the community always gives a project a greater chance of success,” he said.

It’s not clear at this point which group is willing to contribute dollars to such a project.

Listed among the parks department’s lengthy and expensive list of priority projects is a “multi-sport racquet facility” that has an estimated $7.5 million price tag.

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