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Tennis fans swinging

But lawn bowlers grounded by severe winter season

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

It’s a tale of two clubhouses.

While the Ancaster Tennis clubhouse is preparing for a grand opening May 24 to celebrate the opening of its new facility, the Ancaster Lawn Bowling Club’s new facility won’t be completed until July.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” said Tennis Club president Rick Burjaw. “Everything is expected to be hooked up by the opening. There are just some finishing touches left.”

Not only will the club and its 300 members be applauding a new, up-to-date facility, but they will be welcoming two new pros for the club, Francis Critchley and assistant pro Kasey Lambert, a member of the McMaster University tennis team.

Burjaw sees the new clubhouse as an opportunity to increase membership. The club will be able to operate clinics for kids more efficiently and provide a better atmosphere and opportunity for members and youth.

“There is a big push on this,” he said.

 The new club will be larger than its former aging facility, expanding from 400 square feet to 800 square feet. It will have separate washrooms and lockers for men and women, a new bar area and windows will be built to allow members and visitors to look out over the five courts.Burjaw said the club will have a big screen television and a keyless entry for more security. The club has also improved its online presence with a new website, allowing people to book times.Meanwhile, Burjaw said was sympathetic to the Lawn Bowling Club’s predicament.

“I can see what they are going through,” he said.

Because of the severe winter season, and the unexpected discovery of buried hydro lines, the Lawn Bowling Club’s new facility won’t be completed until July, said the club’s president Lockhart Morgan.

Rom D’Angelo, director of facilities management and capital programs, said the construction delay could run until the end of July. The main reason was the relocation of the hydro lines, which the city only discovered during construction.

Despite the delay, Morgan said members will still be able to bowl. He said club events don’t begin until early June and all of the club’s equipment is being stored in a container shed on site.

“We are seeing what we can do,” said Morgan. “We are adapting, and looking for solutions.”

Regardless of when the new clubhouse is finished, Morgan said his 72 members will be glad for the new facility. It will have a larger square footage, separate lockers and washrooms for men and women, a kitchenette, larger seating capacity from 60 to 80 people and an outdoor patio. In addition, the building will be winterized, allowing the club to rent out the facility.

The previous clubhouse was constructed in the 1940s, so a new facility was long overdue, Morgan said. And he hopes that with a new club, it will allow membership to increase to over 100.

The total cost for the two new clubhouses is about $750,000, with development charges shaving about $360,000 off the price tag. Each club contributed about $30,000 each, with the rest of the cost picked up by taxpayers.

Lawn Bowling Club members are also expected to have a shorter season this year  because Hamilton officials plan to rip up the green and install a new regulation size surface in September. And there is the possibility the new green could be artificial.

“That would be ideal,” said Morgan. “It would save the city some money on maintenance. We are still talking to staff about that.”

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