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It might have taken half a century to formalise things, but moves are finally under way to vest the St Bathans tennis courts as a reserve.
The courts, opposite the Vulcan Hotel, are one of the few level pieces of land in the village, and are used for the annual fete and other community events.
The Vincent Community Board yesterday considered the fate of four sections in the town, including the tennis courts site, which the Central Otago District Council had planned to have declared "abandoned land".
It received four submissions seeking the retention of the land for recreation purposes and agreed to acquire the tennis courts sections under the Public Works Act to vest in the council as a reserve.
"At least that will give the St Bathans people some security.
"It will take another year or two to go through the procedure but they've been waiting 50 years for this, so another couple of years won't make much difference, " council property officer Brian Taylor said.
Although local residents and those from the wider district believed the land was already a reserve, it had never been formally designated as one, he said.
Board member James Armstrong said the tennis courts were a popular venue for community events and, in fact, a wedding was held there on Saturday.
"We have no option really. It's seen as community land already so I believe we have to make it that," board member Graeme Bell said.
Oturehua resident Paddy Enright told the board the land was occupied by the St Bathans Tennis Club from 1918 until about 1960.
The board decided a third section, near the old Post Office, should revert to the Crown for vesting as a Crown reserve.
Any moves by the Crown to acquire the fourth section as Crown reserve would also be supported by the board.
The Department of Conservation's Central Otago area manager Mike Tubbs supported the sections being classified as recreation reserve.