Purpose of the meeting
The purpose of the meeting was to present the design of the facility and seek comments and suggestions as it pertains to their interest. Selection process for the participants
The sample included representatives of the following segments of the population:
From a list provided by Sports and Recreation’s Department, 14 residents were invited: 6 confirmed their presence, 4 were present at the discussion table. To obtain a group as unbiased as possible, the Administration avoided populating it with friends, colleagues and people closely associated with the proposed project. Discussion guide
Michael S. Deegan, Director of Sports and Recreation, was the moderator. His role was to ask the questions and monitor the discussion flow. The meeting lasted for 2 hours. Brigitte Stock, Director of Communications was in attendance and Ingrid Mask, a City employee, took notes with the intention that the results of the meeting would be posted on the City’s website. Format for the Discussion Groups
Casual discussion setting
Circle setup Question Guide
Preliminary plans and project information were shared with the participants. Summary of comments
It was recommended that the junior tennis courts near the Arena
need to be completely redone. One resident suggested that the spacing between the courts not be limited and not be too narrow. The best example of regulation spacing is the clay courts behind the library. The worse example is the courts in King George Park. What we are currently looking for is at feedback from the tennis players in Westmount. We should look to measure each court (with a 3 foot difference) and it was suggested we use the clay court dimensions as a template.
The new pavilion would be either an L shaped or I shaped rendition for the future tennis courts on the roof of the underground hockey rinks on the ground level of Academy Rd. There would be space for 4 tennis courts. It was noted that with the I shaped pavilion the circulation would be better. If the pavilion is located off Lansdowne Ave., there is a major safety issue that the ball would go over the fence and into Lansdowne Ave.
It was also suggested that Westmount set up a more intense tennis program with more structured coaching, tournaments etc. There are many top coaches available – more of an elite group. This would enable to increase usage of the tennis courts but it was also noted that the tennis courts here in Westmount are primarily used for recreational purposes.
It was agreed that clay courts need more maintenance which is more expensive. For proper drainage there should be a 3 foot base. The kids love to play on clay courts and it is easier on the joints. The hard courts (asphalt) are easier to put on the roof and easier for drainage. They are maintenance free and less expensive. The residents want better lighting for the courts like in King George Park with the side lighting. An example of Mount Royal was given for the ideal lighting system. It was agreed that the library courts are dimly lit and the hard courts need better lighting from the side with no glare.
It was also noted that the hard courts were easier to put on the rooftop – easier for drainage and maintenance free. Surface vs. cost. Also suggested was the recommendation to build indoor tennis courts so that it can be used all year round and there would be a jump in usage.
Another suggestion was astro turf courts or field turf which would drain quickly and be usable 15 minutes after. The artificial turf would not be slippery but soft as well as maintenance free. Easier on the knees and better than hard courts with a bounce like clay. It was agreed that rubberized surface would be a nightmare.
It was asked whether there should be a Practice Wall and 3 courts or 4 courts and the Practice Wall located elsewhere. If the courts were to be moved to Lansdowne Ave., higher fencing would be required to fit 4 courts. It would be better hidden on the park side with less light pollution.
It was also noted that a concession area (covered patio area) would be set up for spectators to view the tennis courts. A license would be required to sell alcohol if the need was there.
For the hard court surfacing it was recommended to look at Cote de Liesse or Tennis 13 with the blue and green surfacing.
The courts should be in the North South configuration than east west with the sunlight easier on the eyes as well as depending on the time of day when playing. Post meeting suggestion (received via email)
I circled back with the groundskeeper at the tennis club and we talked dimensions and lighting. On the former, the bottom line in my opinion is that you should build the courts to the same dimensions (backspace and side space included) to those up on Murray Hill (KEP?). Sure you could have a bigger footprint meaning more back space like a pro court (http://www.xsports.com/msrmnts.html) but why? It’s not necessary and certainly more costly. Re the lighting, you should check out the Mount Royal Tennis Club’s lighting on courts 8-10 (Vendome side). They are identical to the lighting on the show courts 11/12 but were raised a little higher. Seems this is just the right height for play at night, balancing the need to see the ball when lobbed and limiting the light pollution to the neighbourhood (fixtures face down).
In terms of surface, I’m much more in the synthetic or har-tru camp than the asphalt option now for a number of reasons. The most important being that an asphalt court on a roof could be more susceptible to cracking due to building movement. This would technically not be the case with either a synthetic or clay surface. Gaining a perspective on respective weight would also be key. I’m thinking asphalt could be the heaviest of the three. In any event, I think I promised a contact for the synthetic option.