Tennis bubble goes on the auction block

Dome could have new life on a farm or other facility

While the majority of residents cut their losses or cleaned out their closets for charity during Garagellenium, the municipality-wide garage sale, the district itself was trying to make a little cash from an old cast-off.

Oak Bay Recreation Centre’s four-court tennis bubble dome is being replaced with an insulated bubble and the former is up for grabs to the highest bidder.

So far, that’s not very high. As of press time, the highest bid was $2,550.45 on bcauction.ca.

“It’s near the end of its normal life expectancy for our uses,” said Ken Olson of Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

The bubble skin’s inner lining has darkened since it was manufactured in 1991 and because the lights reflect off the roof to light the space, light levels are decreasing. The centre has received some visibility complaints from tennis players. The furnace has also fallen below the centre’s standards. The outer lining, however, has plenty of good years left, and would be great for an up-and-coming club or an alternative use, such as covering a riding ring, Olson said.

The 12-metre tall bubble comes with the skin, most of the exit doors, the revolving doors, an inflation unit, and a very old back up inflation unit, but without the system to fasten it down and two exit doors. Olson estimates the setup would cost more than $400,000 new.

“The actual integrity of the structure is good for several more years, so we thought a farmer, or somebody who wasn’t too concerned with the esthetics might find a use. It’s going to be cut up and disposed of if someone doesn’t buy it.”

With several offers already registered, the question isn’t whether or not the bubble will be laid to rest, but at what price it will be reinvented when the bidding closes on Friday.

Prospective buyers must have a plan for how they will remove the skin, and must do so between Aug. 27 and 29.