Olympic tennis player Daniel Nestor helped the Salmon Arm Tennis Club celebrate the grand opening of its new indoor facility.
After four years of planning, a year-and-a-half of construction, 7,500 volunteer hours and nearly a million dollars in donations from individuals and corporations in the Shuswap, the tennis club is expected to complete the facility in the fall of this year.
On Saturday, June 8 the opening ceremonies attracted a large crowd of tennis enthusiasts and local business owners to the still unpaved ground of the indoor facility. After a ribbon cutting ceremony where David Askew made the final snip, club members tried their rackets against retired doubles champion Daniel Nestor.
The estimated cost for the project was $2.8 million but after fundraising and in-kind donations, the facility was built for $1.7 million. Some of that funding comes from facility sponsors like SASCU or individuals such as Marietjie Bonthuys who donated $25,000 of her inheritance to create Johan’s Court, named after her father.
“He passed away 25 years ago but he was a tennis enthusiast. He loved playing tennis, I probably learned tennis because he loved it,” said Bonthuys. “I just felt convicted to use some of the money that I had inherited from my dad to contribute to a court with his name on it.”
Another of the courts is named after the Askew family.
Among the various speakers at the event was Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo who was happy to see the project nearing completion.
“It’s amazing when you have a look at the amount of volunteer hours and the corporate commitment,” said Kyllo. “Very proud of Salmon Arm, it’s not just a great facility for Salmon Arm, though, but for the entire Shuswap region.”
Don Ross, the club’s president who had just come off the court from battling it out against Nestor, was happy to see the opening day at last.
“Unbelievable. I mean it’s been four years of planning, a year and a half of full-on construction,” said Ross. “And the opportunity to have somebody like Daniel Nestor for the opening is absolutely awesome.”
Ross says that by the end of June the asphalt will be placed and the final court surface will be added in the fall.