Case study – Colocation of regional tennis and netball clubs

This project was stage two of a three stage project amalgamating seasonal sporting activities around two recreational facilities, the golf club and the Shire's main sports pavilion.

Key findings

  • The provision of lighting has increased competition and usage by 4–5 hours per week, allowing the tennis and netball clubs to establish social competitions on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The consolidation of key community recreation facilities has enabled sporting clubs to attract a broader demographic and provide additional activities and programs. 
Brookton tennis club courts

Project background

With a population of just under 1,000, Brookton is a small community located 140km south east of Perth. The initiatives identified in the application were high priority recommendations identified in the Shire of Brookton Sport and Recreation Plan 2006–2015.

It was recognised that the current community sporting facilities were in poor condition and generally consisted of single–use facilities, most of which served seasonal activities and sat idle in the offseason.
The abundance of individual facilities posed sustainability issues and restricted clubs from refurbishing and bringing them up to contemporary standards. Therefore the Shire proposed the amalgamation of counter seasonal sporting activities around two recreational nodes – the Golf Club and WB Eva Pavilion.

Stage one of the project was the colocation of the bowling and golf clubs. The Shire received a CSRFF grant of $366,000 in the 2007/2008 funding round for stage one. The grant was finalised in April 2009.
The colocation of the Brookton Tennis Club and Brookton Netball Club  at the WB Eva Pavillion was stage two of the three stage project. The application also included a contribution towards the planning for stage three, extension and refurbishment of the WB Eva Pavilion.

The project included the construction of six courts, four synthetic grass courts and two multi–marked hard courts to be shared with the netball club, as well as the provision of lighting. The project was completed in 2010.

Approach/process

The need for rationalisation of the sport and recreation facilities within the Shire was the key finding of the needs assessment done in 2007.

Key sporting groups were surveyed and follow-up stakeholder meetings were conducted.  A reference group comprising representatives from clubs and the Shire was formed to project manage the colocation. This involved development of the detailed design brief and the management plan.

TennisWest and Netball WA both provided technical advice to the project, ie surface selection and lighting.

The project also included the capture of water run-off from the new surfaces into sub-soil drainage and transfer to an existing holding tank for watering of the adjacent oval.

Objectives

The Shire initial application to CSRFF outlined the following objectives:
  • Attract new members through improved facilities and the potential for participation spill-over.
  • Increase retention rate in tennis.
  • Two multi-marked courts to attract public participation.
  • Establish a basketball team in Brookton.
  • Increase Indigenous participation.

Club membership

Brookton Tennis Club membership 2008 – 2012
Year Senior Junior
2008 47 11
2009 58 12
2010 57 16
2011 48 20
2012 46 22

Funding

Funding sources for the colocation of Brookton tennis and netball clubs.
Source Amount
Shire of Brookton $319,594
Brookton Tennis Club $60,000
Other State Government funds** $113,680
Club—self supporting loan $130,606
CSRFF grant $311,940
Total $935,820

**Department of Transport and Infrastructure Regional partnerships (Community Water Grants)

Participation and use

Locating the upgraded facilities at the Shire’s main sports pavilion has led to an increase in public participation and community activities. A number of new ad hoc programs have been introduced, including:

  • Beatball basketball.
  • Nyungar sports school holiday program.
  • Edmund Rice camps.
  • Social mixed netball competition.
  • Brookton Family Festival.
  • Southern Wheatbelt sport and recreation project activities.

While club memberships have seen mixed results, social tennis and netball competitions have seen a significant increase in community participation, largely due to additional lighting. Programs such as Beatball Basketball have also increased indigenous participation, attracting over 80 indigenous children and family members.

Sustainability

The provision of lighting has seemingly had the largest impact on the facility usage. It has allowed for both tennis and netball to establish social competitions on Friday and Saturday nights, increasing operation and usage by around 4–5 hours per week. This has attracted a wider demographic and promoted spill-over between clubs and sports.

To ensure continuing growth of club membership is sustainable, some improvements will be essential to the functional requirements of the facility, including greater viewing access and increased storage. However, the current design and layout of the facility will allow for any necessary expansions and additions, supporting future development.

While no basketball team has been established yet, there is growing community demand among the youth demographic, and the multi-marked courts will accommodate a new club. 

Access and opportunity

The facility supports access for people of all ages and capabilities, as well as encouraging casual and social use. 

The Shire and associated sporting clubs have also established a number of free school holiday programs to support community participation.

Community impact

The upgraded facilities have created an active social hub among the community and has attracted a broader demographic than what was previously achieved through the run–down individual facilities. It has allowed the sporting clubs to provide more activities and programs that are benefiting children, young adults and families, and developing a sense of community pride. 

The multi-purpose facility is also ensuring the sustainable and long-term viability of community sporting clubs. The surrounding environment provides space for future expansion of the WB Eva Pavilion, and an outdoor gym adjacent to the courts has already been developed to further enhance the multi-purpose sporting precinct.