NETBALL associations have welcomed the City of Greater Bendigo’s commitment to work with them closer in prioritising court upgrade projects, but remain concerned that short-term fixes are needed to accommodate the sport’s continued growth in popularity.
The City of Greater Bendigo released its final Hard Court Strategy last week, and councillors will vote on it on Wednesday night.
Additional changes were made to the strategy since it was released for comment, including a commitment to work closely with associations, rather than just individual clubs. A category considering the socio-economic status of each area was also included when prioritising projects.
The number of teams competing in the Bendigo Strathdale Netball Association have increased from 76 in 2009 to 157 this year. A further 13 teams were added since the end of last season while the Golden City league was in hiatus.
There are 246 separate tennis and netball courts in the City of Greater Bendigo.
Two of the Bendigo Strathdale Association courts at Bendigo South East College are in poor condition and can only be used for juniors.
Association president Daryl Cheeseman said the suggestion within the strategy that they could use indoor courts at the upgraded Bendigo Stadium was complicated, as there were many other user groups to compete with.
“You have basketball and volleyball that all want to use that space as well. We could move our Friday night competition in there, but we still have a rental agreement and would need to use the stadium courts free of charge,” he said.
“We need to have courts upgraded, but the problem is that they are at a school and become the responsibility of the Education Department.”
The council believed the courts at the stadium were not yet at capacity and could be used to alleviate the stress on the association’s facilities.
The Book a Court program remains in the strategy, despite tennis association concerns at the cost of the program.
Upgraded courts will likely receive acrylic surfaces, but each project will be considered on a case-by-case basis.