Tennis free to play again at West End court after city votes to end lease agreement

It’s game-set-match for a lease agreement between the City of Winnipeg and the Sargent Park Tennis Gardens.

A city committee has decided not to renew the lease at the tennis courts on Sargent Avenue, adjacent to the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.

The lease has been in place since 2015, which has resulted in members of the public having to pay to use the court.

Daniel McIntyre city councillor Cindy Gilroy says the city has every right to take back this facility.

“It was well-used before this lease, ” Gilroy said. “And it will be free and well-used again by area residents who really took ownership of the court and really kept it clean and well-maintained prior to {the lease).”

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But George Kylar, who runs the Sargent Park Tennis Gardens, says this will lead to fewer people using it and says the shape of the facility will worsen without proper care.

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“It’s already 12 years old and I was told the diligent cleaning of the courts and the washing of it will prolong the life of courts,” Kylar said.

He says the process was not done right by the city.

“I was told over the winter months, other entities would be invited to submit a chance to get the lease, but that has now been washed.”

Gilroy says the beach volleyball courts and speed skating oval at Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex are both free and accessible to the public, and so should the tennis courts.

A letter submitted to the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, which voted to end the lease Thursday, says the vibrant tennis community has declined over the last 10 years.

“Many players have moved on to other free tennis facilities,” said Romilyn Lacap. “And some just simply hanged up their racquets due to the fees. I believe having free access to tennis will bring neighbors and friends back to this sport.”

“We need to help make tennis more accessible to more people by removing the cost barrier, so that the entire community can play and benefit physically, mentally and socially.”

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