My grievance is to the minister representing the Minister for Housing and is about a funding commitment by the Department of Housing to provide alternative facilities for members of the Canning Lawn Tennis Club, which about two years ago was
displaced from its premises to make way for a very good Department of Housing planned development in Bentley; that is, the Bentley regeneration project around Brownlie Towers.
Members of the tennis club were evicted from their club grounds. They had a valid lease with the City of Canning, but agreed to vacate the premises on certain conditions; namely, that the Department of Housing would fund facilities at South Perth Lawn Tennis Club. The members of the Canning tennis club had been to the South Perth Lawn Tennis Club and the South Perth club welcomed them to join it. They joined the South Perth club on
the condition that the Department of Housing would allocate funding—a figure of $850 000 was mentioned—to provide eight new floodlit courts on land at the South Perth Tennis Club and extensions and renovations to the existing clubhouse, because with an extra 50 or so members the clubhouse is fairly small. The department agreed that if South Perth was prepared to take on the homeless tennis club members from nearby Canning, it would
need those extra facilities to accommodate them.
The problem is that was two years ago and on a recent visit to the club I discovered that nothing has happened. I am sure that the minister can understand the frustration of not only South Perth tennis club members, many of whom are my constituents, but also the members of the Canning club, who moved to the new club to make way for a significant development. Members’ main frustration is that there are now not enough courts to accommodate all the players who turn up on Saturdays. When I arrived at the club last Saturday, four or five members were sitting there. I was introduced to them, and they said that they were from Canning and were waiting to get on to a court. If a person is a member of a tennis club and they want to play tennis on a Saturday afternoon—as the Speaker as a tennis player would know—they need to be able to get on a court, but these
people were sitting on the sidelines. I am told it happens not just on Saturdays, but also many people are unable to play night pennants because there are too many teams for the number of courts available. The members told me that the new courts and clubhouse development should have been completed last season, yet there is still no indication of when any work will begin or whether in fact this project will go ahead.
The point made to me was that the cost to the department would have been significantly more if it had had to find a new greenfields site to re-establish the tennis club when it had to move from its site in Canning, but because the South Perth Lawn Tennis Club agreed to take the Canning members into its fold, it saved the
government and the department a lot money. I think they have a far less expensive option.
Do not get me wrong, minister, the members at South Perth are very happy to have the members from Canning in their home; they get on very well. I am the patron of South Perth Lawn Tennis Club and not long ago I went to last season’s trophy presentation, and a number of Canning members featured in those presentations, including for winning tournaments and for playing in finals. Right now, people feel a bit let down. The club has its annual
general meeting on Saturday, which I will attend, and I would like to be able to take to that meeting some positive response from the minister on where this situation sits regarding the eight new courts.
I was told that the first stage of the development would involve site works, the second stage was the laying of the courts and the third stage would be putting in the lights, and the club was happy with that. It was to be done incrementally but right now nothing has happened. It seems totally reasonable that the members of these two clubs should be able to seek an assurance that the required works will be initiated and completed at the earliest
opportunity to allow the club members to enjoy their family-orientated game of tennis. Our government has been very good in the field of sport and recreation by supporting community sporting clubs through the previous Minister for Sport and Recreation, the member for Wagin, and the current minister, the member for Central Wheatbelt. I also understand that there have been complications because the original agreement was with the
City of Canning. Local government boundary changes were proposed, which would have resulted in the City of Canning disappearing, so the tennis club had an agreement with a council that would no longer exist. Everyone thought that the City of Canning would be amalgamated with the combined City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park. I am not sure whether any discussions happened at that stage. However, that amalgamation did not eventuate and now I believe that talks are being conducted with the City of South Perth. This matter landed in the lap of the City of South Perth after many discussions. I believe that the Department of Housing wants an agreement between the South Perth Lawn Tennis Club and the City of South Perth to be drafted by a lawyer, but the tennis club does not want to expend the funds to do this without a guarantee that the overall funding will be put in place. It is a community tennis club and it does not have a lot of funds. The City of South Perth is not sure it wants to spend money on a lawyer either because it is not in its forward budget.
In closing, I want an assurance from the minister on the future of this development. Is the $850 000 available, what will the scope of the works be, and does the minister think the club will be compensated in any way for the two-year delay in which it has had to endure a fair bit of hardship in getting people onto its courts?