Popular tennis courts no longer free to use
A LOCAL business has secured a five-year lease on the tennis courts at Ipswich’s largest sporting precinct.
It means the popular courts at the $56 million Springfield Central Sports Complex will no longer be free to use as they have been for the past year.
Ipswich City Council conducted an open tender process for the operation and management of the eight tennis courts.
Brookwater-based Baseline Tennis Coaching secured the five-year lease at a cost of about $127,400 and will move in from October.
Players will now have to pay to book the courts for social hire at an hourly cost believed to be $14.
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Baseline, which already employs two local staff, indicated to the council during the tender process this move could allow them to recruit more coaches and other ancillary staff.
The business offers lessons for all ages and all skill levels.
The council’s community and cultural services manager Don Stewart told last Thursday’s council meeting the entire sports complex went out for expressions of interest in 2018.
It was opened in October last year with clubs including Springfield United and Western Pride football clubs and Springfield Lakes and South West Wildcats netball clubs granted seasonal permits.
“The successful club or association were selected based on the strengths of their EOIs, their sport, their membership count and they were advised accordingly,” he said.
“Their permits then are submitted on a seasonal basis be it summer or winter for the exclusive days, afternoons, times and the weekend sports days.
“Outside of those hours they are available for casual permit hire or general public use when no one is on the field.
“Schools can also apply for their casual permits.”
Division 2 councillor Paul Tully said he was pleased a local business with “established roots” in the community will be managing the top-class facilities.
“It has the experience,” he said.
“I guess there’s only one downside through this process.
“The public has had free use of these facilities for a while and that may create some difficulties over the next few weeks when it does have to be booked and paid.
“Hopefully the community will understand.
“I would hope tennis starts to play a much bigger role in our community right throughout the city but of course in my beloved eastern suburbs.”
Signage will be hung at the facility to advise visitors of the changes with a pro shop expected to be established by Baseline.
Tennis courts at Grande Park, Atlantic Drive Sporting Complex and Spring Lake Park, all in Springfield Lakes, remain free for players to use.
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.