LURNEA TENNIS COURTS | Forced error, residents say

Tennis coach JimZrilic, the pro coach at the tennis courts at Phillips Park at Lurnea, is concerned about the future of the courts and the prospect of them being demolished and/or out of action.

"I've been here for eight years and I've seen the change from a park that was littered with needles in the car park and drunks drinking alcohol regularly," he said. "It's now cleaned up and popular.

"There are four schools -- All Saints CollegeClancy Catholic CollegeAmity College and St Francis -- next to the tennis courts. I regularly give lessons here, Mondays to Saturdays, with more than 80 students each week. Anywhere from 60 to 90 pupils use them for school sport. And close to 400 people use them any given week.

"It's totally unacceptable that the courts might be demolished. It's the only four-court tennis complex in Liverpool. There are 12 in total and if they get rid of these courts that leaves just eight. There's no reason why the tennis courts can't stay and be incorporated into the park.

"This council is out of touch with the community.

"What I can't understand is that they want to demolish the courts then wait six months to a year to put up new courts. What happens to all the schools here? What about my students and other people hiring the courts?

"It's so unfair and unjust."

One of the parents, Shirleyann De Bernardi, said: "The courts have been here for about 80 years and are used by many diverse members of the community, all ages and abilities. They're also used by local schools.

"I and many others in the community have been trying to have Liverpool Council reconsider the decision made for the upgrade of Phillips Park to also include the courts. Please, Liverpool Council, listen to the community.

"I and many others would be happy to help in what ways we can to keep them.

"I've been a resident of Lurnea and Liverpool for more than 50 years. My son plays tennis here."

Holsworthy state MP Melanie Gibbons has weighed in. "The Liberal state Government has just committed to providing close to $6.5m towards the upgrade of Phillips Park in Lurnea," she stated online. "While the state and federal governments are providing close to $13m for this, Liverpool Council controls the planning and construction of the upgrade.

"I'm disappointed the Labor-controlled council hasn't listened to locals who'd like the courts incorporated into the Phillips Park and Lurnea Community Hub upgrade."

Ms Gibbons has an online petition requesting the council incorporate the courts into the upgrade (see below).

Liverpool Council's chief executive KierstenFishburn responds: "The council is creating outstanding sports and recreation facilities in a $16.2m community and recreational hub at Phillips Park at Lurnea. To allow for this, the council has resolved to move the tennis courts to McGirrPark, a short drive from Phillips Park.

"The upgrade of Phillips Park will include: soccer fields, cricket oval and half multi-court area for basketball and netball; outdoor exercise park; social enterprise café; multi-purpose community centre to support playgroups, out-of-school activities, community group meetings and informal social activities; playground; walking tracks; and passive recreation areas including picnic shelters."