The Esk Tennis Court is one of the sites under consideration for upgrades, along with those at Toogoolawah, Moore, and now Somerset Dam.
The Esk Tennis Court is one of the sites under consideration for upgrades, along with those at Toogoolawah, Moore, and now Somerset Dam.

Mysteries plague tennis court upgrade plans

WHILE considering plans to resurface small-town tennis courts, Somerset Regional Council noticed several strange discrepancies in the courts' recent history.

In March, the council received correspondence regarding the subpar conditions at the Somerset Dam Village Tennis Courts.

Council officers investigated the site on Gipps St, Somerset Dam, and noted there were significant cracks throughout the playing surfaces of the two courts, among other things.

When officers delved into the history of the courts' usage, and maintenance works carried out at the courts in recent years, a number of unusual details came to light.

In 2009, Tennis Court Construction of Queensland carried out $40,000 of works at the site, installing a perimeter fence, new lines and nets, as well as the repair of cracks in the bitumen surface, and covering the surface with a terracotta/clay top finish.

"A representative of Tennis Courts Construction of Queensland recalled leaving all excess terracotta / clay materials with the owner of the Somerset Dam Village service station, and that the owner was regularly conducting maintenance to the playing surface," council's director of corporate and community services Matthew McGoldrick said.

"The status and location of these materials is now unknown. The gentleman referred to by the representative is no longer believed to be the owner of the service station."

Much larger items have also gone missing from the tennis court.

"The lights that were installed in the 2001-2002 financial year by the Esk Shire Council have been removed from the tennis courts," Mr McGoldrick said.

"The location and status of the lights are unknown, as is the date of removal and rationale for their removal."

READ MORE: Council courts plans to upgrade sports facilities

Although the council holds tenure over the site, the Somerset Dam & Districts Association has been custodian of the keys since 2009, but there are no records of a tennis club existing for the area, or any formal or established usage being made of the courts.

"A representative of Tennis Court Construction Queensland believes that were the surface to have been regularly played on or maintained (at least monthly) over the past decade it would not resemble anything like its current state," Mr McGoldrick said.

Although there was interest from members in the community in using the Somerset Dam Village Courts if they were restored, Mr McGoldrick pointed out in his report that other tennis clubs in the area were already struggling.

"The Kilcoy Tennis Club, located under 30 minutes from the SDVTC, are currently 'suffering severe lack of interest', with less than 20 attendances at the facility per week," he said.

"There may be an opportunity for residents of Somerset Dam Village to join the Kilcoy Tennis Club and support an established club."

Somerset Regional Council elected to consider resurfacing the playing surface of the Somerset Dam Village Tennis Courts when it deliberates its next budget.

These works would be carried out under the condition that SDDPA take responsibility as custodians of the court, and carry out maintenance when required.

Council has already voted to consider three other tennis courts in the region when deciding the budget - Toogoolawah, Moore, and Esk - and the Somerset Dam site would be prioritised after these.

The 2020/2021 budget will be decided by council in a meeting later this year.