Tennis club’s serve

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Queenstown Tennis Club is calling “out” on a row of beech trees recently planted right next to their courts in the Gardens.

Club president Teresa Chapman claims Queens­town Lakes District Council put in the hedging without consulting them first.

She says members are fuming, believing roots from the trees could badly damage their playing surface – which cost $150,000 to put down just two years ago.

Chapman also thinks the row of beeches will block spectator views and cause the courts to become slippery in winter because of shading.

“We want them removed and replanted elsewhere,” she says. “It’s stupid and shows a lack of thought.

“They’re beech trees and who knows how high they could grow to.

“They are going to cause problems for us on the courts with leaves, with the mildew, with roots and shading in the winter.”

She adds: “If the roots get underneath and the courts start lifting at the edges, it could cost a lot of money to repair.”

Chapman volleyed a complaint at mayor Clive Geddes, who in turn contacted QLDC parks boss Gordon Bailey.
But tennis club members – who number about 300 – aren’t impressed with Bailey’s response.

In an email reply to Chapman via Geddes, he says: “I very much doubt roots will ever be a problem to courts as the roots won’t be attracted to what I imagine would be hard-packed gravels under the courts …”

Bailey adds: “Logically, long-term if they do become a problem, then the council of the day can replace them.”

Chapman reckons this just isn’t good enough.

“Bailey says the roots shouldn’t be a problem but if they are, some future council can deal with it – not the right answer,” she fumes.

Bailey also points out the new beech hedge is part of the plan approved and publicly notified for the Gardens upgrade.

But Chapman believes QLDC should have con­tacted the tennis club “for input”.

She adds: “We probably would have picked it up if we hadn’t taken our eye off the ball by an earlier council plan for a big two-storey maintenance depot in the Gardens.”