New tennis courts not a done deal

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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‘I think we put the cart in front of the horse'

The Truro Tennis Club is looking to expand into some green space in Victoria Park to build mini tennis courts to teach younger players the game. The request has been met with opposition from residents in the area. File photo

TRURO - A controversial decision by the Town of Truro to expand a local tennis court may soon be revisited.

In October, Truro town council voted to allow the expansion of the Truro Tennis Club to accommodate two new courts to the south of two existing courts with the goal of having a program for the 10 and under crowd.

On Monday, Coun. Brian Kinsman, who previously voiced his opposition to the expansion, along with Coun. Greg MacArthur, recommended to council that the town reconsider its decision and bring the topic back to the table for discussion next month.

"I think we put the cart in front of the horse. That area is an important part of Victoria Park," Kinsman told the Truro Daily News.

"We are doing a management plan for the park and we should look at that more before we decide on the tennis court issue."

John Rafferty, the town's legal representative, said at least five councillors, out of a council of seven people, would have to agree to the motion of reconsideration at the next meeting to proceed.

Ron Chisholm, president of the tennis club, was not at the council meeting on Monday. When contacted by the Truro Daily News, Chisholm wasn't surprised to hear the item will potentially be discussed at length again next month. Nor did he think it was a good idea.

"To sidetrack the project now council sends a chilling (message) to many non-profit groups," said Chisholm, adding the club is only asking to use 15 per cent of the existing green space on the tennis courts.

"We followed proper procedures ... (and) it's about the youth," he added.

The process for the potential expansion began in April of 2012 and has undergone many changes in design. It has been a hot topic both at the council table and in neighbourhoods near Victoria Park, where some residents say they were not properly informed about the project.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Truro Daily News, Truro town council, Truro Tennis Club

Geographic location: TRURO, Victoria Park

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  • ASJ
    November 06, 2012 - 11:36

    This whole tennis court issue is disgusting in my opinion and I will never get tired of fighting against its implementation. Mr. Chisholm's statement that it will be only using 15% of the green space is meant as the greenspace in the whole park (he is still low on that number) when in actuality it will take practically the whole greenspace between the existing tennis courts and the Little League Ball Field. There will only be a slim piece of green all around which will not be usefull for anyone that has used that space consistently in the past - no skating rink, little ones learning to catch their first baseball, frisbees, children learning to ride their bikes on the sidewalk that crosses over, people of all ages doing activities (not everyone and everything can take place or wants to do it in the space by the bandstand-it can handle only so much). In addition it is used as a parade area for the Cadets, registration/finish tents for various events put on by the town and organizations, parking for the Blessing of the Bikes and many, many more. Yes, some of them are only once a year but they also bring money to the area. ALL of Victoria Park was given for the free use of ALL residents and visitors of the town of Truro. A private, paid membership driven organization is not what is meant in that. I also do not want my property tax dollars going towards the upkeep of a tennis club that is not open to the public at no cost. Tell them to apply to Corda again for enough to go and buy their own land somewhere else in town and set up what they want. There are free courts around town and the courts in the Cougar Dome are to be accessable to the public when classes are out for the day/school breaks/summer. What an idea, get your kids to learn tennis for free as a course in school...(sarcasm). There are many other options available without giving away any land in Victoria Park (let alone a well used, integral part). When it was passed through Town Council, all those that voted for it (except one) were not running again so they did not listen to the negative opinion of the plan by the head of Parks and Recreation, the negative opinion of residents of the town, etc.- they didn't care.

    • NIMBY
      November 07, 2012 - 04:26

      Did you say Cougar Dome? What Cougar Dome are you talking about? Oh, the one they are planning to build but won't because the NIMBYS in that part of town won't like the look of it. It might spoil their view. Please!

  • HAPPY GILMORE
    November 06, 2012 - 09:12

    Next thing you know the town council will be giving town land in the west end for the private Truro Golf Club to use for their golf course...oh yeah, they already have....how about spread the tennis around town and build 4 tennis courts down there? The TGC has a great big clubhouse that nobody uses. Its true, sits there empty 7 months of the year and very minimal use the other 5 .......sad.... fact is, membership costs down there are just too high for the many in the Truro area to use it....hint hint hint....

    • Jeff Johnston
      Jeff Johnston
      November 06, 2012 - 10:40

      Yes , maybe they should build their courts at the Golf Club , and make the Victoria Park Courts 100% Free for the community . Maybe put a second 4 court system somewhere else in the community also 100% Free . Truro does great for ballparks and walking trails , but everything else you have to buy a membership . We need free access recreation . It is low cost and high impact , and only costs a fraction of what it is costing us for the 50 Million Dollar Civic Center and the 20 Million Dollar Downtown Master Plan . Big projects should be measured in the hundreds of thousands , not tens of millions . We also need lower taxes . If we demolish the civic center we will save millions and if we get out of the downtown master plan we will save millions more .

  • NoFool
    November 06, 2012 - 07:11

    Sorry Mr Chisholm....revisiting this issue send a comforting message to the people that when councils make wrong decisions, corrections can be made....it's about democracy. Perhaps it's time the youth learned a lesson in that. Elite private clubs have no place in what was intended to be public spaces. Take the tennis courts elsewhere. Problem solved.

  • Fraser
    November 06, 2012 - 06:29

    I think that they should not be allowed to considering you have to pay a membership fee to use the tennis court. I do remember the town saying that they could not put in the Tree-go because the public would have to pay and Victoria Park is a free park. So if they decide to allow the expansion then I think that the tennis court should be free to the public.

  • Jeff Johnston
    Jeff Johnston
    November 05, 2012 - 23:42

    This is a strange expansion that would see court # 1 in front of the clubhouse converted into permanent mini-courts , reducing the number of lighted courts from 4 to 3 , while putting fencing in between them , and then tacking on 2 non-lighted courts in the green space . This would ruin the atmosphere of the club , and would make organizing events difficult , going from 4 lighted courts to 3 . Tuesday night team tennis has 40 participants , and uses all 4 lighted courts . A lot of members of the tennis club are also against this expansion . Mini courts are a gimmick , and temporary mini courts that can be placed over existing courts are totally sufficient . Teenagers , adults and older children use full size courts , and the integrity of the courts should not be sacrificed for a feel good project . It would also result in an increase in membership rates , which are already too high for tennis courts that are on town land , and had a lot of government money go into their construction . Inside the clubhouse they have recently spent $8000 on fancy woodwork , to redo the bench with the little boxes underneath to throw your shoes and a desk . I found this kind of bizarre , especially when they could be offering lower membership rates . If they are going to do this expansion they should do it right and go from 4 full sized courts to 8 , otherwise just don't do it . It would be nice if the town would set up a rec park somewhere with 4 free access tennis courts , a basketball court , volleyball nets , maybe a tar mack for road hockey or whatever else people can think of . People should be able to access things without being tied down to a membership . Look at the success of the skatepark .

    • Jeff Johnston
      Jeff Johnston
      November 06, 2012 - 09:06

      Another major issue with the tennis club is that they advertise 8AM-10PM , 7 days a week and this is false advertising . A lot of paying members don't have this access . The light switch box is located inside the clubhouse instead of inside the cage . Only the executive and a handful of members have keys to the clubhouse . There have also been issues with members not getting keys to the gate to access daytime tennis . This is crazy especially when people may be planning to come down at a certain time and can't get on because the place is locked up . The cougar dome agenda would send the cost of tennis into the stratosphere . Most people cannot afford hourly court fees , and these types of places cost thousands of dollars / child . At the Northcliffe indoor tennis facility in Halifax for 2 teenage boys to place tennis for 2 hours twice a week , say Tuesdays and Thursdays , would cost over $7000 . This is for something that people should be able to do for free . They are also planning to offer joint memberships for the Cougar Dome with the Truro Golf Club . We can't let the tennis mafia turn our town into a country club so the bureaucratic class can have a sense of elitism . Look what they've done with the civic center while they shut down more affordable recreation . Have you seen the article in the paper Rink of Dreams about the Five Islands outdoor skating rink ? That's what Truro use to be like . Down to earth with a sense of community .

    • ASJ
      November 06, 2012 - 11:42

      Sorry Jeff. I had been informed differently regarding the Cougar Dome (if my comment ever goes up). You sound better informed on the costs, etc. and I agree with you completely.

    • HAPPY GILMORE
      November 09, 2012 - 19:00

      "They are also planning to offer joint memberships for the Cougar Dome with the Truro Golf Club' ....wow, that would be a bad move for the Cougar Dome. The TGC is only completely functional for 5 months of the year, only open 6 months, has the highest membership rates around, too few members, and offers poor service and value for their price structure. And if the tennis stakeholders haven`t noticed, most golfers either aren`t interested or physically capable of playing tennis. If they were, there`d already be courts at the club. Don`t see what benefit the cougar dome would get from the TGC.