Tennis courts need $1.7-million upgrade

COLAC Otway Shire’s dilapidated tennis courts need $1.7 million of work and maintenance to ensure they remain playable, a new report says.

A tennis facilities audit and development plan estimated civic leaders would have to find the money if they wanted to renew the shire’s 25 public tennis courts.

The report, produced by Inside Edge Sport and Leisure Planning, encourages the council to commit long-term to improving facilities for the district’s tennis players.

It recommends the council develop a policy outlining who should pay what for tennis court improvements.

Councillors received the report at their monthly meeting, and voted to send hard copies to each of the district’s tennis clubs, including inactive clubs.

“An estimated $1.7 million worth of facility maintenance and improvement projects have been identified for the shire’s tennis infrastructure,” the report said.

“This is a significant investment that will require a long-term planning approach and an approach that considers ongoing investment in order to preserve valuable community assets.

“In most cases the ability to fund significant works will be constrained due to the limited capacity of clubs and public facilities to draw income from users.

“It is expected that council will need to create and source partnership funding opportunities to deliver on the key infrastructure requirements in this plan.”

The report urges the council to take a “long-term sustainable view” to support tennis, including building at least two courts at every club.

The recommendations focus largely on improving the district’s crumbling tennis courts, largely in outlying communities.

But it urges the council to develop a master plan for Colac Lawn Tennis Club to turn the Church Street site into a premier facility.

Court layout, surface, lights and off-court facilities should all feature in the master plan.

About 1500 people play tennis in Colac Otway Shire, and the council expects the figure to grow to about 1800 people by 2030.

More than 30 tennis officials participated in the development of the audit report by attending a tennis club forum.

People can view the report at the council’s customer service centres at Colac or Apollo Bay or online, and have six weeks to comment.

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