Squash fans feel squeezed out

16/04/2019 Posted by admin

Shellharbour Squash Club members Joanne Stone, Adam Bolton and Tina Mason are not happy Shellharbour Club closed its squash courts more than five months earlier than expected. Picture: ELIZA WINKLERFRUSTRATED and disappointed was the feeling among members of the Shellharbour Squash Club after the doors closed on the courts at the Shellharbour Club last week.
Nanjing Night Net

Members and social players were told the courts would close as part of the preparation for the $64 million club upgrade launched in September this year.

The Shellharbour Club proposal includes a community leisure hub with a fitness centre, swimming amenities, long day care, medical precinct and a fast food outlet.

The Club’s chief executive officer Debbie Cosmos said there were no plans to add a squash court to the proposal due to a lack of demand.

The squash club has been operating in Shellharbour for more than 20 years and it currently has 55 members and social players. It was the only squash court in the region.

Club member Joanne Stone said members were advised the club would close at the start of May 2015 and were shocked when the courts closed five months earlier.

“Whatever happened to the ‘club built for the community, by the community?’ With no consultation with its members the club has made the decision to shut down the courts as of Friday [November 28],” she said.

“I turned up to play and there was a sign saying it would close at the end of November.

“It’s like we’re being forced out and it’s definitely left a sour note with club members. We feel like we have been let down by the club.

“We would have liked the court opened until it had to be demolished, or at least look at including one court in the new plans.”

A representative of the Shellharbour Club said they were hoping to start construction in May 2015 and didn’t want the club to have to close in the middle of the next season.

“We have been in constant consultation with the organisers and allowed them to finish their last competition,” the representative said.

“We ensured adequate notice of the closure was communicated, and at the request of the squash club we kindly donated the umpire chairs to Lakeside Squash Club.”

Squash club member Tina Mason said, “it’s like we’re being shunned”.

“We wrote to the board to ask for an extension until the end of May so we could finish our 2015 comp. We have had no response to that and they wouldn’t let us speak on it, they just shut the club,” she said.

“They’re taking a squash court out of the club and getting a McDonalds, it’s disgraceful.”

It is understood the courts will be used as storage until the development application is approved by the council.

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