March 15, 2018

Tennis Club to be independent of Town

The Town of Erin is doing away with four Community Centre Recreation Boards, but is promising to do so with minimal disruption.

A financial audit advised council last fall that having independent groups such as the tennis club within the town’s structure creates an issue with oversight. A report from Clerk Dina Lundy said this could expose the town to legal liabilities and “reputational risk should there be issues with how these enterprises are managed”.

Council voted on March 6 to repeal a 1985 Erin Township bylaw that established recreation boards to operate the Erin Tennis Club (ETC) and the Ballinafad Community Centre (BCC), which are still active, and for Victoria Park and the Hillsburgh Community Centre, which are not.

The BCC is considered integral to the Parks and Recreation Department, so that board will be converted to an advisory committee. The Town of Halton Hills has agreed to increase its annual contribution to the Ballinafad centre from $500 to $5,000, and they will receive regular financial statements from Erin.

The tennis club gets no funds from the town, and membership fees are used for maintenance and a variety of programs. Unlike other sports organizations, the club operates on town property without a rental agreement, and the town holds their reserve funds.

The five courts were built and paid for by the town, which borrowed $171,000 for the project in 2002. There was a major court resurfacing in 2015, with the club paying more than half the cost.

The town will now sever its financial relationship with the club and negotiate a new agreement for use of the courts, which will also ensure public access.

ETC President Chuck Hall said there is concern about the club losing coverage under the town’s insurance, and reminded council that club members have made significant contributions of money and volunteer labour towards the facilities.

CAO Nathan Hyde said the club could be allowed to continue temporarily on town insurance, and that staff will work with them “to make the transition as seamless as possible”.

Mayor Al Alls said, “We won’t leave you stranded.”