FRANKSTON Tennis Club worry that the “death” of their club could be imminent without state and federal government funding to construct their new home.
Works on Frankston Hospital under a re-elected state Labor government are set to wipe out land used by the club, meaning they must find a new home. Discussions with council led to the club accepting a relocation to Centenary Park in Langwarrin, a venue with less courts than the club’s existing space.
Frankston Council have committed $11 million to the redevelopment of Centenary Park, but without support from state and federal government, that funding will be pulled.
“We had a lease in place until December 1, 2022. Now obviously the expansion of the hospital has always been our priority, we’ve never tried to block it. That expansion is very important,” Frankston Tennis Club relocation subcommittee chairman John McGillivray said.
“We’re looking for $8 million each from the state and federal government. We’ve co-operated so far, but we could be left without a club. We’ve met with state and federal members and candidates and they’re very supportive, but we need funding from them to get the thing built. We’re asking only to replace what we’ve already got.”
Liberal candidate Michael Lamb has pledged $8.05 million to the council-backed project.
Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke is yet to commit to funding the project, but told a candidate’s forum on 1 November to “watch this space”.
The club now has a lease until the end of 2019, when they must leave whether works at Centenary Park have begun or not. They have raised $3 million of their own to contribute to the project.
Mr McGillivray said there were grave concerns about the future of the club if complete funding could not be secured.
“I can only assume we would be told to go out to Centenary Park anyway and use the facilities that are out there. That would be the end of the club, because the facilities out there are second rate. They need to be ripped out and replaced, so it would be basically the death of the Frankston Tennis Club,” he said.
Frankston mayor Cr Colin Hampton said that council is working with local members to secure funding for the new facilities.
“Council has been advocating with federal and state level of government to not just move the tennis to Centenary Park, but to make it a regional hub for sport,” he said.
“This up front money commitment is contingent on the federal and state government. If they don’t contribute, our money won’t go in.”
Peninsula Health bought the land for $3 million in late 2017, a small fraction of the asking price for the Centenary Park redevelopment. Half of that money was paid to the tennis club, and half to the council for the land.
The revamped Centenary Park will also home facilities for gymnastics.
The 127-year-old club has agreed to merge with Frankston East Tennis Club as part of the relocation.
First published in the Frankston Times – 5 November 2018