Markham Bubble Project Approved

December 10, 2019

 

Below is some exciting news for Markham residents and tennis players regarding the new tennis bubbles going up on the 6 tennis courts at Reesor Park in 2020. 

 

Background

 

The City of Markham recently published an updated 10 year forecast of the Integrated Leisure Master Plan (ILMP). Thanks to the efforts of MTC and UTC over the past 2 years, a new bubble strategy for indoor tennis was included in this plan. The plan can be reviewed in its entirety at www.markham.ca by searching for ILMP. The specific references are on pages 50 & 51, but it indicates an action plan to:

 

“Engage the local tennis community to facilitate the development of an additional indoor tennis facility (e.g., seasonal bubble) in response to demonstrated demand, favorable site conditions and sustainable partnership conditions.”

 

The City has actively identified and assessed the location options for the facility.

  1. They looked at existing Public Court locations and found no sites were suitable.

  2. They identified a number of community sites as candidates :

    • Pomona TC - was ruled out due to a flood plain designation

    • German Mills - was ruled out as the city didn’t control the property

    • MTC - judged the best location based on park location, layout and minimal impact  to residents

Operating Model

 

The decision was made that a public / private partnership was the best business model as it minimizes the financial demands on the City and makes expert operational experience available to ensure the best possible tennis experience.  The operation will be only a winter operation and MTC would exist separately as a summer outdoor club as it does today. Winter operation will run Oct 1 – April 30, summer operation May 1 – Sep 30.

 

A community review of the proposal was held at Reesor Park P.S. on Nov 20th and no major issues arose from that review.

 

The final approval to move forward was moved unanimously on Dec 10th by the 13 members of council.

 

There is a very attractive private partner operator proposal available that the city has already vetted and determined to be the best option for the City and tennis community.  The operator chosen was Karl Hale (his background can be viewed at: https://www.sportstravelexperts.com/about-us). 

 

In discussions with the City it was made clear that the operation of this new facility would have careful oversight to ensure no existing community club would be advantaged or disadvantaged with this winter operation at the MTC location.  e.g. full year memberships would not be offered for MTC only members. All parties agreed that any cooperation the winter operator has with community clubs would be available to all clubs in the area.

 

Potential Impact

 

As you can imagine there are many coordination issues to be worked through between MTC, the City, and Karl Hale, but we have members of the MTC board participating in that work going forward to ensure a smooth transition and to minimize disruption to our summer operations. The timetable is aimed at having construction done and the new Winter Bubble facility operational by October, 2020. This is a very aggressive timetable, but it can be done.

 

Next Steps

 

This is very good news for indoor tennis in Markham, and we will hopefully see many new faces to our site that have previously left Markham in the winter for other indoor operators. Karl Hale has some great plans for the winter club, including leagues, teams, lessons, high performance, special tournaments and fundraising events, and of course lots of open play for members. MTC and the City will provide input into his programming plan to ensure it is comprehensive and balanced, and we will share these details as they unfold. In fact, we expect Karl to communicate with the Markham tennis community as a whole very early in the new year to solicit interest in membership options and to promote his exciting new programs.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, send all bubble project inquiries to:

 

                        bubble@markhamtennisclub.ca

 

We will try to answer as best we can.

 

Thanks to the new 2020 MTC Board, elected at the Oct 6th AGM, for all their support in making this project happen.

 

Officers & Directors

 

Scott Fraser – President (returning)

Dave Gervan – Vice President (returning)

Kelly McLeod – Secretary (returning)

Alison Horne – Treasurer (returning)

 

Tasneem Gopeesingh – Membership (returning)

Tania Persad – Director-at-Large (returning)

Shannon Sutherman – Premises (new)

Jeannette Peoples – Director-at-Large (new)

 

Sincerely,

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