Tourism networks are an increasingly important tool for economic development. At a local destination level, such networks have a potentially significant contribution to make towards sustainable tourism embracing community and commercial interests. This paper describes an instrumental case study that analyses the realities of a young local destination tourism network. It reflects upon tensions among the membership arising from community and commercial value systems, and how these affect aspects of its operation such as goals, plans, activities and relationships with support agencies. The network is understood in the context of its lifecycle and considers how it could be more effectively developed. Existing theory on tourism networks is developed in relation to their life cycle, benefits and contributions, support and management.