Cottesloe Tennis Club member’s objection leads to investigation of loan to build courts

Cottesloe Tennis Club member’s objection leads to investigation of loan to build courts

COTTESLOE Tennis Club members will have to wait to know if the Department of Local Government will uphold a member’s compliant about a Cottesloe Council loan to build more courts at the sports facility on Napier Street.

“The Department of Local Government and Communities has received a complaint and is currently assessing the allegations, but further information will not be disclosed at this time,” a Department of Local Government spokeswoman said.

After planning lasting more than three years, the club proposed a 10-court extension, modifications to other courts and installation of playing lights, before councillors agreed on a $420,000 loan for the project last December.

Public submissions generated 13 comments, of which five were against the proposed loan.

After legal advice, club member George Bray alleged “a complete lack of transparency and accountability” in his complaint to the Department of Local Government, including the validity of a club meeting, and the council allegedly not following its policies and the Local Government Act.

“None of the points I have raised have been challenged, and what goes to the heart of it is they are using two hard courts renovated three years ago at a cost of $116,000, without any justifiable cause, and will spend at least $175,000 replacing them,” Mr Bray said

Club president Phillip Barron said the project was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, and the club had demonstrated capacity to raise and support the loan for the project backed by Tennis West and a $53,365 Department of Sport and Recreation grant.

The council put a clause on the loan’s approval at its last meeting for any final sign-off on the deal being subject to the outcome of the department’s inquiry into whether Mr Bray’s complaint warranted an investigation.

At the meeting, club members were disappointed at the prospect of a delay caused by the Department inquiry.

“The objections have been aired in detail to club members, and have been repeatedly rejected,” club treasurer Liz Peterson said.

Ms Peterson said had it been known there were objections club members would have “flooded” the council with comments supporting the loan during public submissions.