Greenwood Tennis Club junior program could face trouble after fee waiver removed


Club president David Bickford, with committee members Toni Russell, Giles Talbot and Warren O'Neill, hope the City of Joondalup will review its fee subsidies. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au   d478268
Club president David Bickford. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au   d478268
Club president David Bickford, with committee members Toni Russell, Giles Talbot and Warren O'Neill, hope the City of Joondalup will review its fee subsidies. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d478268 Club president David Bickford. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d478268

GREENWOOD Tennis Club hopes the City of Joondalup will review the way it charges facility hire fees after being forced to pay costs that were previously subsidised.

In 2012, the council adopted a framework that guides how the City subsidises hire fees for community groups. If groups are ineligible or are seeking an additional subsidy, they must apply with a report presented to the council for consideration.

At last month’s meeting, councillors agreed to extend the 100 per cent subsidised use for juniors at Kingsley and Ocean Ridge tennis clubs for the 2017-18 booking period from October 1 to September 30.

Kingsley has been extended from 10 hours a week subsidised at the Timberlane Park tennis courts to 53.5 hours to cover its junior bookings, while Ocean Ridge was extended to 20 hours a week at the Heathridge Park courts.

However, a 100 per cent fee waiver for juniors at Greenwood Tennis Club was not approved because the club is ineligible with fewer than 50 per cent of its active members not living in the City of Joondalup.

The club had previously received a 100 per cent subsidy but in 2015-16 it was no longer eligible.

At its meeting in March 2016, the council agreed to waive 75 per cent of the club’s junior fees, with the waiver to reduce to 50 per cent in 2016-17, 25 per cent in 2017-18 and no waiver in 2018-19.

However, councillors at last July’s meeting again agreed to waive 100 per cent of the fees for 2016-17.

For the club’s 2017-18 booking, it reported only 20 per cent (10 out of 50) of its junior members are City of Joondalup residents.

President David Bickford said the club’s location at Warwick Open Space in the south-east corner of the City made it “impossible” not to get members from the cities of Wanneroo and Stirling.

He said the club also had to compete for junior memberships with the nearby Sorrento and Kingsley clubs.

He said the club usually paid about $4000 to hire the courts for its 80 senior members but its bill for 2017-18 would include another $9750 following the council’s decision not to waive the juniors’ fees for up to 121 hours a week.

“If it continues, eventually we will go broke or have to scrap the juniors,” he said. “It sounds outrageous but in theory, that would be an option.”

Mr Bickford said the club used to be run by parents but now it had “professional coaches who have an income”.

“The days of little finance involved are gone,” he said.

He said the club had increased its membership fees by $10 last year after five years of no change and another increase could be considered this year.

Mr Bickford said he was in the process of writing to councillors, Mayor Albert Jacob and Tennis West to try get their support for future fee waiver applications.

A council document said the City currently had a $6.7 million per annum operating deficit from paying “significant amounts in grants and contributions, while also waiving/subsidising a large amount of City fees for use of reserves and facilities”.

“Continuing fee waivers or increased subsidies for groups that do not meet the criteria of the policy will not assist the City in managing its ongoing operating deficit,” it said.

At the meeting, Cr Sophie Dwyer moved an alternative motion to waive the club’s fees but it was defeated 4-8.

In voting against, Mr Jacob said the rule needed to be implemented “equally across the City”.

“If we start to make exceptions, it would be fair and reasonable for other clubs to expect the same,” he said.

 

Open day at Greenwood Tennis Club

WITH the Australian Open in full force, the Greenwood Tennis Club is holding an open day this Saturday.

President David Bickford said the event was a social tennis day aimed at potential senior members.

He said participants would play four sets of mixed doubles tennis followed by socialising and an afternoon tea.

“We normally hold a big open day in October but last year we thought we would hold one at the same time as the Australian Open and it was quite successful.”

The January 27 event will run from 1.30pm.

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