Canada’s second-oldest tennis club in Bridgwater may relocate

by Keith Corcoran

Bridgewater's Generations Active Park (GAP) will one day be the home to Canada's second-oldest tennis club and a three-court facility.

Town council endorsed changes to concept plan for the Glen Allan Drive park, near HB Studios Sports Centre, adding the Bridgewater Tennis Club (BTC) to the blueprint.

It doesn't mean the new courts will be constructed immediately. The cost is estimated to be $350,000 and servicing expenses are also anticipated to be in the six-figures. Town officials expect other levels of government, and the club itself, to partner in funding the project.

"In discussion with the Bridgewater Tennis Club, the probable route to establish the proposed tennis courts in GAP begins with a lease agreement for the immediate area around the courts," a report to council said.

"Annual operating and maintenance costs would be borne to the BTC for the courts, while the areas outside would be maintained by the town. Staff see the development approach as collaborative, with cost-sharing for the facility and club house."

The Bridgewater Tennis Club last year said relocating away Maple Street's Kinsmen Athletic Field to the GAP gives it a chance to fix current problems and achieve future potential.

The club's current trio of asphalt fenced courts, which are equipped with lights for night play, are deteriorating due to the swampy location and year-after-year freeze/thaw weather cycle.

The clubhouse used for gear storage and as a hub for members to gather before and after play has exceeded its life expectancy, the club said.

"Despite all of the challenges the club is feeling it has continued to grow," the 128-year-old organization told council. "However, the current state of rapid decline has imposed upon the club urgency about the impending juncture where it is no longer safe to operate."

The GAP is seven hectares in size and since its establishment about seven years ago it's developed a dog park and trail system on the property. There are, however, future plans to build a playground and splash pad, a shuffleboard area, basketball court, and three beach volleyball courts on the site.

Bridgewater junior high student Sydney MacMillan, presenting to town council in December 2018, raised the matter of building beach volleyball courts in town, which she believed would spike interest and participation in a sport that's produced such local talents as Micaela Sabean, Courtney Baker and Kelsey Bond. The town currently does not have such courts.

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