The paving for the tennis courts at Jean-Paul Charlebois Park in Saint-Bernardin is cracked with weeds and grass growing tall and undisturbed because nobody has played games there all year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The park hasn’t had many people there for awhile either because of the pandemic though now it is open again to residents so long as they follow pandemic public health protocols.
Future plans for the popular community park were part of a recent report from Recreation Director Carol Ann Scott to The Nation council. The main items in the report were the tennis courts and the picnic shelter.
The picnic shelter has begun to show its age. In 2017 the department got a quote of $20,000 for the cost to repair the shelter and with inflation now the cost could be more than $25,000.
Scott noted that the shelter has seen occasional use over the past few years “but its location is not ideal.” She recommended that the shelter be demolished and the municipality do a review next year of the entire layout and design of the community park, with input from residents and user groups.
The aim of the review would be developing a priority list for future park development projects, including designing and building a new picnic shelter at another site within the park area. The review would also have recommendations for financing new park projects, including possible partnerships between the municipality and local community groups and service clubs.
The tennis courts continue to be a popular feature of the park but the playing surface needs rebuilding. Scott’s report noted the rock base below the court pavement is not good and the clay subsoil is part of the reason for the pavement heaving and cracking.
She recommended rebuilding the west court surface next spring, along with new fencing and other features. The east court surface cannot be repaired because of the subsurface ground condition.
The new, smaller tennis court area would be suitable for both tennis and pickleball and cost one-third the price of trying to redo the surface of the original double-court setup.
Council approved Scott’s recommendations for decommissioning the old picnic shelter and for rehabilitating the tennis court. The 2021 municipal budget discussion will include funds for the tennis court work and also money to cover tent rentals for community activities in the park next year that would have used the picnic shelter.
Council also approved doing a review next year of the needs for Jean-Paul Charlebois Park and for the parks and recreation department to work with a local committee on project priorities for the park and fundraising for those projects.