The $3.5m tennis bungle
DELAYS to the $3.5 million redevelopment of Rockhampton’s regional tennis complex in Victoria Park will throw the summer tennis season into chaos, it was alleged yesterday.
Former mayoral candidate Tim Griffin, a past president and long-serving member of Cressy Tennis Club, served a volley of criticism at Rockhampton Regional Council’s handling of the project.
Mr Griffin said he feared his club would lose members this year because contractors were so far behind schedule.
“We are having to turn people away because there is nowhere for them to play,” he said.
“We have our signing-on sessions over the next two weekends and when people turn up they will see a worksite. It’s just a mess.”
He said the club was given assurances 19 courts would be ready by January 20.
Mr Griffin says he will raise the issue with Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten as the State Government was bank-rolling the redevelopment.
“This is the best time to recruit, with the Australian Open putting the sport in the spotlight. But we are wasting the opportunity,” he said.
Leading Rockhampton tennis coach Robert Beak said he and other coaches faced the chaotic prospect of “dozens and dozens of youngsters turning up for lessons” and just four useable courts for them to play on.
“It’s a pain in the backside to be honest. I’m going to have to look at organising other venues. We should have been up and running before now.”
He said he faced a logistical nightmare over the next month.
The council said yesterday the 19 courts would be finished by February 26, subject to weather conditions and unavoidable delays and contractors were pulling out all the stops to have nine courts playable by January 30 for the Regional Tennis Association’s sign-on event.
A statement said bad ground and rain had delayed the project. “These are issues out of the council’s control and not associated with poor project management,” it said.
The council also confirmed that the complex’s clubhouse was being redesigned to keep it within budget. Work will start by late March.
Mayor Brad Carter called Mr Griffin’s comments mischievious and feared they would damage the excellent working relationship between the council, state government and local tennis bodies.
“It is clear to me his views are not endorsed by Tennis Queensland or local officials.
“We have received very positive comments from the community about the excellent quality of these facilities,” he said.
Ken Hick, the regional development co-ordinator for Tennis Queensland admitted yesterday the work was behind schedule.
But the positives of having an international standard tennis complex in Rocky far outweighed the negative of a short delay, he said.