Tennis development set for Centennial

By Michael Roberts | posted on September 27, 2020

CITY of Albany Council unanimously approved the development of a 16-court tennis centre on the eastern side of the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct at Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting.

The green light comes after a project group involving Albany’s three major tennis clubs of Merrifield, Emu Point and Lawley Park, Tennis West and the Lower Great Southern Tennis Association (LGSTA) reached a decision to place the centre in a central location.

The group had the choice between building the tennis centre at Emu Point Sporting Club, a site near North Albany Football Club and another Centennial Park option closer to Lockyer Avenue.

LGSTA President Les Bairstow said this location “came up trumps”.

“The existing infrastructure is all here. We assessed the four sites and this one came in well ahead of the others. It was a clear winner,” he said.

Originally the LGSTA had hoped to build a major regional centre in Albany, but that plan was abandoned because of costs.

Through the Centennial Park proposal, the new tennis centre will instead leverage off existing infrastructure and share facilities with other sports in the eastern pavilion.

If the development goes ahead, Mr Bairstow said LGSTA would have access to existing bar and function rooms at Centennial Stadium in the summer months.

The proposed project, which has been costed at around $4.8 million, will now need funding from State and Federal governments to move forward.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the City has committed $100,000 to push the development along.

“It will need significant State and Federal funding to progress, so that’s the next phase we’ll have to work through,” he said.

The tennis centre was one of three projects Council supported to apply for Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund grants, including female-friendly ablutions and changeroom upgrades at Princess Royal Sailing Club, and enhancing clubhouse facilities at Railways Football Club.

Existing tennis facilities at Merrifield and Lawley Tennis Clubs will be decommissioned, according to Mr Bairstow.

“There’s so much potential at Lawley with its location for its club room to be remodelled into something fantastic,” he said.

Meanwhile, Emu Point Tennis Club will operate as per normal.

“It will continue to exist as a suburban club,” he said.

“There are a lot of people down there who like to walk to tennis.”