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Coquitlam Tennis Club calls for covered courts for year-round play

Members of the Coquitlam Tennis Club spoke to the city's council-in-committee about the need for more courts, including covered ones.

A covered facility to play tennis is what's needed to replace the aging hub in Town Centre Park.

That's the message from the Coquitlam Tennis Club, which spoke before the city's council-in-committee last month to lobby local officials for a closed space with more courts.

Currently, the outdoor club has four hard courts with lights and a clubhouse on the eastern side of the park.

Under the city's Town Centre Park Master Plan, those courts are expected to be replaced and expanded as part of the park redevelopment; however, no future site has been chosen.

At the June 19 meeting, club vice president Bruce Kennedy and tournament director Nathan Lee showed an image (in our above gallery) of a recently built covered facility in Ontario, noting its modern design.

Kennedy said closing up the facility would allow for 50 per cent more use of the courts for playing time.

He said many Coquitlam residents are now travelling to other Lower Mainland municipalities to find courts.

According to its research, Coquitlam hasn't kept up with the population growth and its tennis court inventory is decreasing (in 2011, there were 34 courts; today, there are 29).

As a result, the club said, Coquitlam is underserved with 0.19 courts per 1,000 residents compared with 0.99 for Delta residents, 0.70 for North Vancouver and 0.49 for Langley.

But Lanny Englund, Coquitlam's general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities, said four tennis courts are going in at the new Burke Mountain high school, three in the next redevelopment phase of Cottonwood Park and two at the new Fraser Mills park.

And another court is expected to be installed at Blue Mountain Park, once the master plan is formalized.

Coun. Dennis Marsden said the city "isn't hitting the numbers," and tennis groups are also having to share the public courts with players of another rapidly growing sport: pickleball.

In addition, Kennedy and Lee said the club will be impacted by the upcoming water main dig up Pipeline Road.

Coun. Trish Mandewo, a former club president, said she’s been championing for more — and covered — courts.

"I personally believe that we do undersupply for some of our sports and tennis is up there," Mayor Richard Stewart added.

Still, Coun. Brent Asmundson said the soccer and skateboarding communities are also calling for covered spaces to play and there’s not enough cash to go around given the city is in the middle of updating Spani Pool and building a recreation complex on Burke Mountain.

"These things aren't cheap," he said.

Coquitlam has a covered hub for tennis players: The Tennis Centre on Foster Avenue is publicly owned, but privately run.

Meanwhile, the Coquitlam Tennis Club hosts an open tournament at its Town Centre Park site from Aug. 19 to 28.