Tennis club opens new court

Second building to help grow sport on island

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Tennis on Salt Spring is getting a lot bigger, as a new second indoor court doubles the amount of playing area and expands opportunities for the community.

When the Salt Spring Tennis Association opened the doors to its new court on Oct. 13, they were launching a new period of growth for the sport on the island. The $600,000 facility will allow the association to run clinics, to build their junior program, to have additional league play and to have sanctioned tournaments running on the island that will bring players from all over the area to Salt Spring.

“We’re very unique for a community our size to have such a fantastic facility,” said association president Mafalda Hoogerdyk.

The cost of the new building was covered by a $200,000 donation from Norm Elliott, who helped build the first facility. The remainder of the monies were lent to the association by it’s members. After the construction was completed, Elliott donated an additional $200,000 to the organization.

“We’ve done fundraising and club members have put up money,” Hoogerdyk said. “The court is paying it back through court usage.”

Originally, the indoor tennis court was known as “Centre Court.” However, since the new building was completed, the association has changed the name of the facility to the Salt Spring Island Tennis Centre. The new court has been named “Norm Elliott Court,” while the original building has been re-named the “Erica Ross Court,” in honour of Erica Ross, who was president of the association through the construction of the first court, and who was project manager for the second court.

“She took on the project manager position, which saved the club close to $60,000,” Hoogerdyk said. “We re-named it say thank you. She’s done a lot for tennis on Salt Spring Island.”

Ross also shared the credit with others.

“Having two excellent tennis coaches — Marjorie Blackwood and Peter Schelling — join our community has been key to increased enthusiasm and use of the indoor facility,” she said. “We know we have a very special community here on Salt Spring Island, but we hope others can use our experience as a template to benefit other small facilities.” 

With the new court, the association hopes to expand their junior tennis program. They are want to build on their existing coaching and clinic program and to bring tennis to more people on Salt Spring Island.

“The first court was so busy that we couldn’t expand any of our junior programs,” Hoogerdyk hopes that with double the amount of court space available, more chances will open up for all people to play.

“We’re going to be building the program for all ages. We are a very social club. We have tennis leagues for all levels. We have a few rated leagues for the people who are more competitive. We also have leagues that help older people who can’t play for a full hour and a half,” she said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for everybody.”

The combined facility will be open to the public through an online booking system. It is entirely volunteer-run and all profits go to paying for the cost of the building.

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