THE Mt Pleasant and Melville Bowling Clubs stand united in their opposition to a co-location or amalgamation at a new Tompkins Park facility, as proposed in a City-commissioned report into the future of bowls in the region.
Prior to the report’s release, both club presidents told the Melville Times they were open to considering a move, although Mt Pleasant’s Steve Nankiville said he would only support such an outcome if it occurred at Shirley Strickland Reserve – an option that is now off the table.
Initially supportive of the report’s proposal, Melville president Gary McCormack changed his view after fronting hundreds of angry club members at an emergency meeting last Wednesday.
“There would have been at least 150 people there,” he said.
“What came out of the meeting was a resounding no – we’re not going anywhere and we’re going to dig in and try to stay put as long as possible. I copped a fair bit of flak for previously saying I was open to a move, but our members and regular visitors are of the opinion we have a great club as is and want to stay where they are.
“Now that I have that mandate I’m going to run with it and do everything I can to support the views of our members.”
Mt Pleasant Bowling Club vice-president Barry Elliss questioned the findings of the report, which he believes underestimates the number of rinks required.
“The report says you can fit 12.5 players per rink and so each green should be able to accommodate 100 bowlers,” Mr Elliss said.
“A full green of six rinks with eight players on each is only 48 – the reality is we need one green for every 48 players.
“Currently we have four greens, one is not utilised but the other three certainly are.
Melville I believe has five, four of which are in play. The recommendation at Tompkins Park is just three greens, with the possibility of a fourth in future.
“You don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that seven doesn’t fit into three.”
Mr Elliss said the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club had been completely blindsided by the report.
“A potential move to Shirley Strickland Reserve was all that had been put to us for seven months, then next thing we know they throw at us we have to move to Tompkins Park,” he said.
“The irreparable damage the council has now caused will take us a long time to recover because it throws doubt on our future.
“Trying to maintain existing members is difficult enough, how can we attract new players with this hanging over us?”
Both clubs will have representation at council chambers tonight when council decides whether to adopt the recommendations.