Judy Gibson and Beryl May at the Minnie Water Tennis Courts, where the tennis club have been locked out of the club house by Council in a rent dispute.
Judy Gibson and Beryl May at the Minnie Water Tennis Courts, where the tennis club have been locked out of the club house by Council in a rent dispute. Caitlan Charles

WHAT A RACQUET: Are we upset with council? Yes we are

ON WEDNESDAY, May 30, our usual group of tennis players arrived at the Minnie Water Tennis Club to find we were locked out of our clubhouse and no reason was given for this action.

This meant - no tennis balls, nowhere to sit out of the sun and, of course, no chairs in which to sit as all our equipment is stored in the clubhouse.

Great shiny new locks were installed by a locksmith from Grafton who had to travel out to Minnie Water to install them at substantial cost to ratepayers.

>> LOCKED OUT: Club members return serve on lease deal

I have been playing there since 1985 and since this time our members have applied for grants, borrowed money from Ulmarra Council (and paid it back by running cake stalls, raffles, etc) and put hours of voluntary labour into building the clubhouse which was officially opened in 1988.

The clubhouse is situated on council land but was built, maintained and paid for by the Minnie Water Tennis Club members. All maintenance on the courts and clubhouse has been carried out by voluntary labour since the inception of the tennis facilities.

This is a much-needed social and sporting outlet for our small village and visitors from Guyra, Tamworth, Newcastle and Brisbane are members of our club and regularly play with us.

We have been informed we will not be let back into the clubhouse until after we meet with council regarding outstanding issues, one of which is the signing of a 10-year lease which we don't want and have never applied for because the conditions of this lease are unaffordable for our club which collects only $500 per year for court hire fees.

So, are we upset with council? Yes we are. One also wonders how many other tennis locations and other sporting bodies have had the same bullying tactics from the Clarence Valley Council - beware they are coming to get you.

By the way, I am 86 years old and had to sit on the ground under a tree while waiting for my turn to play tennis.

Beryl May, Minnie Water



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