MELVILLE and Mt Pleasant bowling clubs have asked the City of Melville to cover two years of pennant membership fees, estimated to cost about $125,000, as a sweetener for agreeing to an amalgamation and relocation to a new Tompkins Park facility.
As compensation for disruption caused by the move, they have also requested $40,000 for new playing uniforms, $30,000 to employ a part-time coach and $60,000 to establish a new sinking fund for the eventual replacement of the four proposed synthetic playing greens.
While City officers are against covering membership costs or coaching development, they have indicated support for footing the bill for the replacement uniforms and sinking fund, as well as $5000 to advertise the new club.
The concessions comes on top of already waiving an outstanding $200,000 loan to the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club (MPBC), which is also requesting permission to access up to $45,000 it had been saving for greens replacement to cover operational costs as it struggles financially during the transition period to the relocation.
Melville councillors will vote on progressing the proposed $9.4 million Tompkins Park Concept Plan later this month.
In a report prepared by the City recommending the project be approved and moved into the detailed design phase, officers state that there has been a “serious downturn in trade over a number of years” at MPBC as well as “reluctance by members to pay membership fees for the season starting in July 2017”.
MPBC president Iris Lewin-Jones said gaining access to the greens replacement savings would place the club in a far stronger financial position but that membership numbers were also an important factor.
“If we lose 10 per cent of our members we’ll be fine but if we end up losing closer to 50 per cent we will have to re-evaluate our financial standing,” she said.
Last month, MPBC members voted narrowly in favour of an early amalgamation of the two clubs at the current Melville Bowling Club site but a similar poll of Melville members was overwhelmingly negative.
Melville Bowling Club president Ken Atkins said the executive remained committed to an amalgamation at Tompkins Park despite knocking back an early amalgamation.
“The recent vote probably tarnished things a little bit,” he said.
“I believe some Mt Pleasant members might see the rejection as a slight on their membership issues but it was never intended to be that.
“The prime reason was that Mt Pleasant wanted to form a new entity with a new name at our current site; that was a bridge too far considering the history of the place.
“All our members are quite happy to move to neutral area under a new name but you wouldn’t expect South Fremantle Football Club to change its name if East Fremantle joined them at Fremantle Oval.”