Melville: plans to relocate bowls club to Shirley Strickland Reserve shelved

CITY of Melville has shelved plans to relocate the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club to Shirley Strickland Reserve pending the outcome of a report into the long-term sustainability of the sport.

The Strickland Oval Action Group (SOAG) has welcomed a new concept plan, released for comment on Monday, outlining proposed development at Shirley Strickland Reserve.

The plan makes no mention of relocating the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club, a hot-button issue for nearby residents concerned about a loss of public open space.

Instead, it features an upgraded pavilion including new change rooms and facilities, a new cricket field, improvements to verges and vegetation as well as parking facilities.

SOAG spokesman Louis de Villiers said he was pleased public access to the reserve would remain virtually unchanged.

“We know an investigation into the long-term bowling strategy is currently being undertaken so we thought it would be pre-empting that study to propose a relocation of the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club,” he said.

“We don’t want to lose any of the existing open space which is well utilised in a versatile fashion by all kinds of users from sports groups to dog walkers to kids playing.”

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the concept sketch was based on the needs of the community and set the vision for the future of the reserve.

It was drafted following community consultation in November 2015 during which 535 responses were received, including those of seven sporting clubs.

“The City’s aim is to develop the reserve to meet the needs of both our casual recreational users and our sporting clubs, so the concept plan takes into account the need to upgrade or redevelop existing built infrastructure while also ensuring preservation of the natural open space,” Cr Aubrey said.

“The proposed improvements and upgrades address what the community identified as top priorities, including upgrades to the shared pavilion, improvements to verges and parking, and retaining the shared open space and tree coverage.”

The concept plan also includes additional improvements for future consideration, subject to additional funding.

“The community feedback highlighted a number of potential improvements, including a nature playground, outdoor fitness equipment, BBQ area and interpretive signage to recognise the history of Shirley Strickland,” Cr Aubrey said.

The concept plan is now open to public comment until Sunday, June 12. Following the public comment period, the concept will be refined and finalised plans and cost estimates presented to council in approximately September 2016.