Serving up Omokoroa tennis

By John Cousins

Tennis is on the verge of taking a giant leap forward at Omokoroa, after years of the sport being relegated to school courts and a group of retired players.

The Omokoroa Tennis Group has asked Western Bay District Council to roll over an unspent amount of $290,000 originally earmarked to build two all-weather courts on the peninsula's sportsfields on Western Ave.

Project spokesman Murray Bigham put the case for the money to this week's public hearings on the council's 2013 to 14 Annual Plan. The group was supported by a petition signed by more than 200 Omokoroa residents.

Part of the drive to build the courts included the formation of the Omokoroa Tennis Club to replace the veterans' group which has been active for 20 years.

Omokoroa Point School's asphalt courts were unforgiving on joints and backs and slippery when wet. Growth in the school roll also meant there was increasing competition for the use of the courts and it was becoming unsustainable for the group.

Mr Bigham said getting their own courts would lead to a membership drive, with the goal to play junior, open grade and veterans' tennis.

Coaching juniors during school holidays would be a priority and they had been told that residents who drove to Tauranga to play tennis would switch their memberships if the courts were built.

Project steering committee member Bob Sampson said there was enough land for four courts and the idea was to approach the owners of the existing clubrooms on Western Reserve to see if they would rent space to tennis.

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said the council was happy to be a part of it.

The council reserved its decision.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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