Sydney based student Tom Berrigan with coach Danny Sousa at the threatened Brelsford Park tennis courts.
Sydney based student Tom Berrigan with coach Danny Sousa at the threatened Brelsford Park tennis courts. Coffs Coast Advocate/Bruce Thomas

Call for more courts at Brelsford Park

WITH the current Brelsford Park Draft Masterplan open to public comment until January 30, Tiebreak Tennis Academy coach Danny Sousa is asking as many tennis people as possible to call for the number of courts depicted on the Council concept plan to be increased.

Currently the concept plan shows the tennis club having their current number of courts reduced down to seven but Sousa says that the tennis club needs at least eight courts to successfully continue at their current membership levels.

“Membership has doubled in the last six months and coaching has quadrupled in that time,” he said.

A major concern for the club is not just the reduction in courts but the severely decreased amount of courts they will have while any reconstruction takes place.

“This would mean that we'd have to lay off a couple of coaches, definitely,” the successful coach said.

Sousa also said that there's many players from Sydney and out west that he coaches that use the facilities at Brelsford Park as well which means that decreased courts means a decreased amount of money that tennis brings into the town.

“That means less tourism for Coffs Harbour because we won't be able to run tournaments and challenge matches which bring people here for a few days.”

Sousa went to great lengths to make it clear that he and his colleagues aren't against the concept change.

“We want to make it really clear we're in support of doing up Brelsford Park,” he said.

“We don't want to sound like we want the park to stay like it is because it does need a facelift. We can't support the plan though if only seven courts is what is going to be done.”

As the Design Manager at Coffs Harbour City Council, George Stulle admitted to being slightly mystified regarding Sousa's concerns.

“It's being shown on the concept plan as getting rid of the clay courts at the Northern end and reducing the other courts by one and that was done after a workshop that we had with all the stakeholders in May last year and the then president of the tennis club was there,” he said.

Stulle said that GeoLINK have agreed that having eight courts is still possible with the layout that is still being shown and that club representatives were present at a meeting when this information was given out.

“The detail of six, seven, eight or nine (courts) doesn't really matter in terms of this.

“The plan doesn't lock in the number of courts ... all it is is identifying that these are roughly the areas we want for these precincts. That's the first step, let's make sure sport still reigns on Brelsford Park, that's the main objective and then you work out the details after that.”

There is one thing that both Stulle and Sousa advise and that is for people to go onto the Coffs Harbour City Council website, download the return comments form and post it to GeoLINK at PO Box 1446, Coffs Harbour, before the January 30 deadline.



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