Courts in need of repairs says Southampton Tennis Club

Saugeen Shores Council, at its June 10th meeting, heard from Southampton Tennis Club members that repairs are needed at the 60 year-old facility at Lake Street in Southampton.

Members of the Club, David Stevens, Mike Smith and Wendy Buckley presented a strategic plan to Council laying out the budget that would be required including plans for fundraising to enable the repairs to be made in 2025.   Included in the financial plan was a request to the Town to provide 50% or $175,000 of a projected total of $350,000.

The club, of some 15 courts at three locations in Southampton, has grown to 1500 members annually since its since its inception by resident Fawc Warder with local volunteers in 1956.

The delegation of members pointed out that the courts are open eight months of the year, although membership is required to play during July and August in order to pay staff and the several instructors it employs for the summer.

They also added that the “tennis club and the town have a long history of collaboration in building the club and supporting the needs of the community for active programming” and it “aligns with Saugeen Shores’ vision of being active, healthy and culturally vibrant through year-round activity and community engagement”.

The Club is also seen as a “boost to the local economy through increased tourism” attracting many visitors to the area due to its reputation as one of the largest tennis clubs in Ontario.

In 2016, one of Canada’s greatest sports stars, tennis player Daniel Nestor, was invited to the Club, attracting hundreds of people. Nestor, at the time, ranked as one of the foremost doubles players in all of tennis history with 87 men’s doubles titles, the Order of Canada, a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.  He was also the first doubles tennis player in history to win every Gran Slam and Masters Series event, Year End Championships and an Olympic Gold Medal.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau explained that the request for financial support would be passed on to Town staff and subsequently Council would discuss it.  “People know about this Club everywhere … and come to this community as visitors, and even residents, because of the Southampton Tennis Club. It’s the source of many fond memories for lots of our residents.  I know a lot of residents have really benefitted from what the Southampton Tennis Club has offered over the years so we are going to refer this to our 2025 budget.  We now budget on a 10-year basis and we don’t have funding for this in our 10-year so it will required council to make some sort of difficult decision to either find more revenue or to move something out so we can move this in.  It will be a conversation that council will have to have and it’s always about setting priorities and making decisions.  We encourage you to keep on with your fundraising campaign and find as much money as you can and we will have that conversation in the Fall and see how we can work with you.”