As the Executive of the SHTC, who are responsible for the operation of the club, we have had long discussion about running the club this year. We have chosen to decline to sign the permit from the City of Toronto for the following reasons:
1) :The North York Tennis Association, of which we are a mandatory member club, recommended against clubs signing their permits because:
- The permit contains a clause requiring the Club Executive to indemnify the City of Toronto from harm and damages, which makes the Club Executive legally responsible;
- There is no insurance coverage for any COVID-19- related matters, (because it doesn’t exist);
- Therefore, we, as the club executive, would be personally responsible, and our personal assets would be at risk.
2) Strict operating requirements outlined in the permit and the City’s Guidelines, (see attachment).City of Toronto Tennis Community Club Court COVID-19 Guidelines – June’20
o To fulfill these requirements, we determined that it would have been necessary to do the following:
§ Keep detailed membership and playing records of every member for possible contact tracing purposes;
§ Hire court monitors to work whenever the courts were open, keep the courts closed and locked when there was no monitor;
§ Install some kind of on-line court booking system to avoid crowds of people showing up at the courts – (no lingering around the courts is allowed);
3) Unsuitable financial considerations, with a probable large loss for the season:
o Expect lower revenue due to:
§ Needing to reduce our usual membership fee because part of the season had already been lost;
§ Fewer members, as many people would have already found other places to play (e.g. Mayfair, free public courts), and would not join;
· It looks very likely that there will be none of the usual doubles leagues (ICTA, NYTA) that many members join for;
§ Probably no rental revenue from NYTA for use of our courts for lessons
o Higher costs in the current pandemic environment, such as:
§ Hiring competent court monitors – not ineffective minimum wage high school students;
§ Paying an online court booking and record keeping system;
§ Supplying hand sanitizer and other PPE for members and monitors;
o We would have to pay the annual permit fee (normally $2,888, but possibly pro-rated); no need to pay if we do not accept the permit
o As you know, the club has been saving up for years for a much-needed resurfacing of the courts, and we are close to doing this. It was not felt to be prudent to incur a big money-losing season, which would jeopardize our ability to resurface the courts. We have plans to do this in the near future.
4) :Several other NYTA clubs, some much bigger than us with more resources, have also rejected their permits and are not operating this year for similar reasons:
o Don Mills, Hillcrest, O’Connor Hill, Parkway Valley, Bayview Village, Gwendolen, Newtonbrook, Tournament Park
As we have not signed the permit to operate this year, the City of Toronto has the option to open the courts and let them be used by the general public, just like other public courts in Toronto. As the Club Executive, we feel that suspending our normal club operations this year is the best course of action, as that would eliminate our personal liability and responsibility and still let people play. The NYTA is negotiating with the City of Toronto to lessen the responsibility on the volunteer Executives of community clubs, and the situation is constantly changing. We will keep abreast of all new developments and let you know of any changes of plan.
We hope that things will be back to normal in 2021, when we intend to operate the SHTC as usual.
The current 2020 Club Executive was elected at the SHTC Annual General Meeting on October 27, 2019, a meeting which every member of 2019 was invited to attend, and sent a proxy form to vote. We are the authority, as recognized by the NYTA and the City of Toronto, to operate and govern in the best interests of the SHTC as we see fit. A new Executive can be voted in at the next AGM. This is how every community tennis club within North York and the City of Toronto operates. There is no mechanism to change the Executive outside of the AGM.