Parks officials say they’re addressing a problem where permit-holders for New Canaan’s platform tennis courts at Waveny are placing reservations online and then fail to show up or else cancel at the last minute, leaving them vacant and preventing others from playing.
A municipal recreation program manager has contacted all permit-holders about the problem and some are responding that they didn’t understand the consequences of their actions, members of the Parks & Recreation Commission said at their most recent meeting.
“I am very frustrated by it because it’s hard to get matches,” commissioner Jason Milligan said at the Feb. 14 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center.
“You have basically a two-week period to schedule each one and it gets busy and you have to basically wake up early as the thing opens and book it for the busy slots and if you do not do that, you can’t get a slot. You’ll find a partner to play and you’ll go to the court and the times I have showed up at night there are open courts, which is very frustrating. Especially if there is a little drizzle or something, then they bail.”
Commission Chair Sally Campbell said a staffer in the Rec Department now is following up on each no-show and late cancellation.
Recreation Director Steve Benko said the problem is that people haven’t been courteous enough to cancel.
“That’s what it is all about,” Benko said.
Yet since the town notified permit-holders of the problem, players are contacting Benko and others in the Rec Department directly to cancel for those unable to make a scheduled match.
“It’s working,” Benko said of the effort. “People are starting to do it.”
Recreation Office Manager Bea Watkins said: “We get that all the time. My office, we are cancelling daily for people … They call us. And we have no problem cancelling.”
Campbell said the town is looking to acquire new software that will allow paddle players to make late cancellations online.
“The goal is to finish the season out and constant reminders to the paddle users to be courteous and then the new software allows for cancellation and to waitlist,” Campbell said.
Commissioner Steve Haberstroh asked whether there’s a listserv for the existing sign-up system.
“What if there was a weekly email where it said the following people didn’t show,” Haberstroh said. “I would hate my name perennially on that list.”
Benko said there’s an existing penalty system where paddle players face consequences after failing to cancel three times, and that the policy just needs to be enforced.