The Delta Town & Country Inn is set to be the home of a new casino in Delta. James Smith photo

LETTER: Delta casino shouldn’t trump tennis courts

The proposed casino at the Delta Town & Country Inn would be taking away Delta’s only indoor court

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. hosted a meeting with the City of Delta and Tennis stakeholders on Jan. 17 to tell them about the pending development (which will remove the Town & Country Inn tennis courts and clubhouse, the only indoor tennis facility in Delta) and to hear concerns about removal of the tennis facility.

The meeting was hosted due to concerns expressed in several open houses held late last year. In spite of the short notice over the Christmas season, more than 150 tennis and sports enthusiasts attended the meeting to hear Gateway Casinos’ presentation on the proposed removal of the tennis facility.

The four tennis clubs in Delta (the Town & Country Tennis Club, Ladner Tennis Club, Tsawwassen Tennis Club and Sunshine Hills Tennis Club) made a coordinated presentation by DeltaTennis.Org identifying the importance of indoor tennis to Delta. They also suggested that, as part of the rezoning application, a community amenity contribution should be made to the city to replace the Town & Country indoor tennis facility.

The Town & Country is the host of comeptitions and tournaments for everyone from youths to professionals. Indoor tennis facilities are needed to schedule leagues, tournaments and lessons, as our wet weather prevents outdoor play for much of the year. Other Lower Mainland municipalities have accessible and affordable indoor tennis and several use these as a revenue streams to subsidize other sport and recreation services.

The BC Wheelchair Sports Association stated that the Town & Country is one of their main facilities for play, teaching and competition. This has resulted in the training of Tomas Bourassa, a North Delta teen quadriplegic who was inducted into the Delta Hall of Fame in 2017. He was trained in part at the Town & Country, and has finished undefeated at the world championships. He is currently ranked 20th in the world.

A speaker at the Jan. 17 meeting noted that community amenity contributions, especially when a community amenity is removed due to a development, is common in other municipalities. A community amenity contribution by the developer would greatly assist in the replacement of the indoor tennis facility.

The audience was informed that the Gateway has presented a proposal for rezoning the Town & Country site to permit a casino complex, the proposal is conceptual, Gateway is the applicant and they have an agreement with the landowner, the Toigo family’s Shato Holdings Ltd., to lease the property for the development. They were also informed that there are no plans to compensate the municipality for the loss of the indoor tennis facilities and that they felt it is a municipal issue.

Individual speakers expressed disappointment with both the city’s and Gateway Casinos’ commitment to replacing the indoor tennis facility. The audience was supportive of the comments made and felt that Gateway and the city have a moral obligation to replace the indoor tennis courts through a community amenity contribution.

The city’s parks, recreation and culture department committed to working with DeltaTennis on the impact of losing the indoor tennis facility. A meeting to discuss indoor tennis was committed by the city.

John McMurchy, DeltaTennis.Org

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