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Remember RYTAC? Here's the latest (7 photos)

Sault College still intends to revamp the former RYTAC property on the Sault's waterfront for local tennis, canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. The Dr.

Sault College still intends to revamp the former RYTAC property on the Sault's waterfront for local tennis, canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts.

The Dr. Lou and Mae Lukenda Charitable Foundation came forward to help Sault College pay for the costs associated with acquiring the property last summer.

The college gathered public feedback in terms of a vision for the property earlier this month through its Twitter feed located on the Sault College website's home page.

"We had close to 600 people respond, and they gave us some very, very valuable feedback on what they would like to see there," said Fran Rose, Sault College Dean of the School of Health, Wellness and Continuing Education, speaking to SooToday.

"They would like to see access to a waterfront properly, activities for adults and children, they would like to see tennis continue, they would like access to kayaks and canoes."

"It's on the Hub Trail, so it's an opportunity there for people to have a stopover for an ice cream cone  or sit down on a bench and relax for a little bit…it was valuable feedback," Rose said.

The college also envisions the property as a place for the school's Natural Environment and Outdoor Studies students to use as part of their programming.

Funding is now needed for an overhaul of the property, as much of it is in a serious state of disrepair.

"It was Dr. Lukenda and Mrs. Mae Lukenda's desire to have that site accessible for people, to be able to enjoy waterfront activities in the inner core of the city… that's our challenge and we're applying for grants, for some money to upgrade so that maybe by next summer we can start offering some other activities on the property," Rose said.

"In terms of the boathouse, it's in a state of disrepair, we've had to take a look at that and we're reviewing our options with that, we do want to have a waterfront centre down there, not exclusive to the college."

Rose said the college will be applying for funding from several different sources.

"(The college will be applying for) federal funds, provincial funds, foundations, anywhere we can get a donation."

Rose did not have an estimate as to how much the needed improvements will cost.

"We're working on that right now, it's going to take some planning…we're in the process of having an engineering study, then have an architect look at  it."

"We have to see what the cost is and how much we can do," Rose said.

Meanwhile, part of the property's facilities are already operating as the Sault College Tennis and Boat Club, in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Tennis Association.

Tennis courts were open from June to September 2014, and are operational again this season.

There are four tennis courts available (though still in need of upgrading), two for adults and two for children.

"We've done some minor upgrades to the property, the lights are now working so that people can play tennis into the evening, there are washroom facilities, there is fresh water access so people can fill up their water bottles, which is more than what people have had in a while (since RYTAC closed the property)," Rose said.

"We've developed a court booking system that's online, the college manages the membership fees (for the Sault Ste. Marie Tennis Association), so it's a really good partnership, they organize the tennis and they use our facility."

Memberships are available, with a fee schedule posted on the Sault College athletics website.

Fee information is also available by calling the Sault College athletics department at 705-759-2554 extension 2709.

A portion of the membership fees goes to the Ontario Tennis Association, the rest to Sault College for maintenance of the property.

(PHOTO: Tennis courts are available for members of the Sault College Tennis and Boat Club, while the college hopes to revamp the former RYTAC facility. Darren Taylor/SooToday)

Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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