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New 10-court tennis facility proposed for Newmarket

Town seeks feedback by Feb. 17 on plan to replace downtown tennis courts

Plans have been unveiled for a new 10-court tennis facility in southwest Newmarket for October, replacing the current facility downtown.

The town held a public meeting last night, Jan. 31, to seek feedback about its plans, which include a clubhouse and a winter bubble. More than 30 members of the tennis community attended to offer input.

Former Newmarket Tennis Club president Debra Scott said it is time for a facility like this.

“The design, the number of courts has been badly needed in Newmarket for a number of years and it’s really exciting to see that it’s happening,” she said. “The Town of Newmarket staff is going to listen to all the feedback and make the decisions that are best for the community.”

The new facility is getting built as the town prepares to move the existing downtown tennis facility downtown for more parking. As a result, it arranged for land to build a tennis structure within the new Shining Hill development on Bennington Road, located in the southwestern portion of town

The current plan includes 10 courts, including two blocks of four courts, a dedicated parking lot with approximately 70 spots and a clubhouse structure. In the winter, eight courts will be bubbled and become indoor, with access between the two blocks. The town said it would be increasing the court surface standard with the move and aims to have the new facility ready by October. 

Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said the cost of the facility is being paid for by the Shining Hill developer.

“I hope you’re as excited as I am. We found a very creative way to move this forward, much sooner than it probably would otherwise happen,” Taylor said. “This is going to be one of the nicest facilities around.”

The town sought feedback about the direction of the facility. Members of the audience suggested elements such as ensuring spectator space around the courts, separated change rooms, different ideas for the bubble and avoiding the inclusion of a boardroom.

The summer season will still be run by the non-profit Newmarket Tennis Club. But the town seeks feedback on the winter season, historically run by a private club. The town floated the possibility of taking over running the winter season with associated membership fees or handing it off to another private provider for the same.

Pickleball conflict

One idea the town proposed is adding pickleball lines on some courts, allowing them to handle both sports. But several in the tennis-playing audience scorned the idea. 

Member Mark MacLean said Tennis Canada and the Ontario Tennis Association would not allow such lines in their regulations for any associated events. 

“So that would rule out pickleball,” he said. 

“Why can’t pickleball have a completely separate area? Why combine the two?” One audience member asked. “It’s pickleball and tennis. It’s not pickle tennis or tennis pickle.” 

Director of recreation and culture Colin Service said the town does have other alternative ideas for the growing sport of pickleball. That will get its own public meeting tonight, at 6:30 p.m. at the town office. 

Member Glenn Brisbois said the youth tennis program has struggled due to a lack of court space, prompting talent to go elsewhere. He said there is an opportunity this new facility would help and also allow the hosting of more tournaments.

“Newmarket Tennis Club was being left behind, but I think them taking this feedback from us was really helpful,” Brisbois said. “It helped a lot of people calm themselves about it.” 

You can find the town’s material at A survey is available on the website, with feedback accepted until Feb. 17.

Taylor said the town will take feedback seriously.

“Our staff and ourselves are exploring every option we possible can, because there’s a lot of pressures, there’s a lot of desires,” Taylor said.