Upgrades for aging courts at the Goolwa netball and tennis clubs

PLAY ON: Goolwa netball and tennis club members Judy Feltrin, Karen Robinson, Margie Clapp and Yvonne Ballard with junior netball players Mia Smith-Ballard, Imogen Buckingham and Layla Buckingham.
PLAY ON: Goolwa netball and tennis club members Judy Feltrin, Karen Robinson, Margie Clapp and Yvonne Ballard with junior netball players Mia Smith-Ballard, Imogen Buckingham and Layla Buckingham.

For years, the Goolwa netball and tennis clubs have been struggling with their aging courts and risked injury as a result.

The shared courts next to the football over have gone without upgrades for 20 years.

But at the end of last season, it became apparent it was the end of the line.

Without immediate upgrades, the netball club feared it would not be able to play on its home courts in the 2018 season.

Thankfully, the courts were thrown a lifeline when the Alexandrina Council approved funding of $63,000 to allow the clubs to commission an upgrade.

But the decision was not made without debate.

After councillor James Stewart spoke in favour of providing the funding, stating the courts had become unfit for purpose, councillor Barry Featherstone said he was inclined to not support it considering council had been very generous with the club in the past.

“These funds should be contestable among other clubs in our district… and if the won that then sure,” he said.

Councillor Jim Davis suggested council reduce the amount by $38,000 to avoid adding to council’s “growing deficit”. 

“I apologise to this club who have worked hard but we keep living beyond our means,” he said.

In response, mayor Keith Parkes said not providing the amount in full, which would allow for lighting to be installed to let tennis players access the courts at night, was foolish.

“If we can’t find $38,000 extra to help out people in our community then we have a problem,” he said.

“I’m not saying open the gates and throw money around but these people won’t be able to play netball next year if we don’t help.”

Councillor Madeleine Walker said she supported “this small step towards equity”, after all the money council had put towards men’s sport over the years.

In the end, the majority swung in support of providing the full $63,000.

Goolwa Netball Club president Karen Robinson said the bitumen surface had been deteriorating for many years.

“We had a couple of injuries this year because of it and an umpire actually got injured because there is not enough room between the goal post and the court fence,” she said.

“We also had a fire because of our lights this season because we did not realise they were unsafe but they are.”

On top of Alexandrina Council’s contribution, Ms Robinson said the club received funding from it’s major sponsors, the department for Recreation and Sport, and the Bendigo Bank.