Sport

Courts finally removed from Echuca Lawn

By Andrew Johnston

After two years under VicRoads possession, six tennis courts at the side of Echuca Lawn Tennis Club have been removed as part of the Echuca Moama bridge project.

But there remains no movement in constructing replacement courts for the club and its co-tenant Echuca South, as well as Echuca Moama Croquet Club.

The facility is now down to 11 courts, with discussions ongoing about new courts in another area of the Victoria Park complex.

Echuca Lawn president Brian Gledhill said replacements were essential to both sports.

“For an average week we would probably need between 12 and 14 to accommodate all the teams involved,” Gledhill said.

VicRoads allowed access after taking possession, allowing tennis to run at full capacity until the project required the land.

However, with the courts removed, issues are presented regarding returning the facility to capacity.

“We've had no further advance to where we were two or three years ago,” Gledhill said.

“We have Jamie Hawking doing our scoping, but he's still working through issues with council and DELWP and VicRoads to an extent. At this stage we are still waiting on a number of things to go ahead.”

Current plans have the courts being built in the open area behind Victoria Park's current netball courts, which is not the ideal position for the tennis club.

“The furthest court will be about 400 m from the clubhouse,” Gledhill said.

“For a number of reasons, including safety and having the croquet club involved, the courts are too far away from the clubhouse.

“We are currently negotiating to get another facility put in at the new courts in order to help function as a club.”

But Gledhill said there had still not been any indication of a timeline for the facility.

“There are a lot of approvals that have to go through, but we really don't know when that will take place. We don't know how we will run with only 11 courts at the moment. We have a heap of junior teams and strong numbers in senior teams as well.”

Gledhill said there was also concerns regarding the financial impact, especially with the recent loss of the club's Easter tournament.

“The loss of the tournament probably cost the club $20 000,” he said.

“And with the court issues we will probably need to move teams around, which will impact bar sales and social aspects. VicRoads are going to compensate some of that. But with the loss of the tournament it becomes pretty tough.”

Campaspe Shire Council and VicRoads were contacted for comment.