Squash courts secured

Squash players gather in the gallery to watch a match during a recent round at Merimbula.
Squash players gather in the gallery to watch a match during a recent round at Merimbula.

Squash courts for Merimbula are back on council’s agenda after councillor Russell Fitzpatrick secured agreement for funding from the sale of the council’s Main Street land which was the site of the old libraray.

The land was the original home of the Merimbula squash courts, which were then closed down for two years because of the condition of the building.

However Rotary and the squash club spent $10,000 to revamp two courts which were reopened two years ago and are used regularly.

The Main Street land currently has an option on it held by Romfam, for an Aldi supermarket with council’s general manager Leanne Barnes confirming the settlement date as January 31, 2018.

Cr Fitzpatrick said it had been “a long drawn out process with numerous motions”.

“Ross Planning was engaged to do the Pambula sporting master plans and any mention of the squash courts were left off the plan.The 31st January is D Day and have to find an alternative,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

He spoke of the $90,000 grant from the state government.

“It was $90,000 that had to be handed back. I strongly recommend we replace the courts whether with two or three courts or with moveable walls. Let’s get it back on the agenda; if we are going to replace them then we have to come up with some funding. The club is growing and can’t operate with more than 55 people at moment. While Ross Planning said that nationally squash is dying but it’s not dying in the Bega Valley.  I want to put it on the record that we are going to support the squash courts,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

Daryl Dobson has long been a proponent of new squash courts and has been involved in the DA for squash courts next to the Sapphire Aquatic Centre.

“I am over the moon. I had never given up on the squash courts,” Mr Dobson said.

“Motions were passed four times in support of the courts from previous councils and then rescinded five times,” he said.

“We have a lot of young people who play squash and visitors also use the courts,” Mr Dobson said.

The plan to have two squash courts at the Pambula Sporting Complex prompted discussion around an indoor sports complex with talk of sports and recreation funding coming up soon that council may be able to access for an indoor centre. 

There is currently a DA lodged for the development of squash courts on land next to the Sapphire Aquatic Centre and Mr Dobson still believes this is the better location as the courts would be available whenever the pool was open with no extra staff needed.

“This makes it more viable,” Mr Dobson said. However the DA expires on February 27, 2018.

Ms Barnes said that when a report was brought back to council details of cost and location would need to be included.

The motion to support the funding of the squash courts and plans for an indoor centre was passed unanimously.

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