Melville Bowling Club balks on proposed merger, relocation talks

Melville Bowling Club members have voted to delay talks with the City of Melville over a relocation.
Melville Bowling Club members have voted to delay talks with the City of Melville over a relocation.

THE benefits of a proposed relocation will be need to be laid bare before the Melville Bowling Club (MBC) agrees to move, its president says.

The City of Melville wants to amalgamate the Melville and Mt Pleasant bowling clubs and move them to a new base at Tompkins Park, to be shared with other sports based there.

The land currently housing the Melville club could then, approvals pending, be used for the proposed $25 million wave park.

MBC members had voted, at the tail end of 2016, to relocate.But at a special meeting recently, MBC members backed a motion to scrap its support until the Local Government Inquiry into the City has concluded and Supreme Court action into the proposed wave park is resolved.

President Joe Marciano said the motion only just got over the line, “35 to 31”.

Among a list of concerns, Mr Marciano said the club was fearful the move to a new shared facility would mean a loss of autonomy and restricted use of shared social space, something that would hurt multiple clubs financially.

He said the club would also lose its TAB and the ability to set bar prices.

While admitting proposed synthetic greens and flood lights allowing night play at the new hub would be a bonus, Mr Marciano said the full package of benefits was needed from the City before the club would be completely on board.

“It’s been all words – there’s nothing in writing,” he said.

“We need something concrete.

“At no stage did they get (affected clubs) and say ‘this is how it will work, this is what you’re getting’.”

The club’s decision was delivered to the City, which was already set to consider the merger after ratepayers called for a review of the amalgamation.

A report to councillors is expected Tuesday.

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the club’s motion was unlikely to have too much impact, with “no material changes” planned prior to completion of the inquiry and legal action.

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