Mt Pleasant Bowling Club to roll with punches regarding possible relocation

Stock image.
Stock image.

MT Pleasant Bowling Club president Iris Lewin-Jones said the club executive remained committed to relocating to a new multi-sport facility at Tompkins Park, despite a last-ditch appeal by residents to keep the club at its Ardross site.

About 100 people attended a special electors’ meeting held Thursday to discuss alternative uses for the Bedford Road property once the club vacates the premises.

However, the only motion they passed requested Melville Council to retain Mt Pleasant Bowling Club at its current site.

Ms Lewin-Jones said members did not want to move but that the club could not support itself.

“The City pays for a lot of the maintenance at the club and they have said if we dig our heels in and refuse to move, we will have to take on those costs and pay commercial rates on the property,” she said.

“I can understand that members don’t want to move but I have to look at the situation from both sides and not jeopardise getting on the wrong side of Council and ending up with no bowls facilities at all.”

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Mt Pleasant Bowling Club has an outstanding $200,000 loan that will be waived as part of its relocation.

Thursday’s special electors’ meeting heard presentations from two ratepayers that live near to the club who underlined Mt Pleasant Bowling Club’s importance as a social community hub and urged the City to either leave the club alone or retain the entire site as public open space.

Alfred Cove resident and former Federal MP George Gear also presented, revealing he had contacted the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) to raise his concerns about the validity of the City-commissioned lawn bowls report.

Mr Gear said the report’s focus on pennant bowling activity, which has declined in the past decade, undervalues the overall contribution and importance of the City’s bowling clubs.

Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said it was easy to make allegations.

“Unlike Mr Gear, who at his own admission stated that as a federal minister ‘when you commission a report, you always know the outcomes’, the City does not conduct business that way,” he said.

“I have conducted an internal review on the lawn bowls strategy and found no basis to support any allegations.”

City has to look at ‘bigger picture’ says CEO

SPEAKING at Thursday’s special electors’ meeting, Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said he understood concerns about change within the City but he had to take a big picture outlook as he sought to manage and maintain more than $1.2 billion of community assets.

“The City has a long-term financial plan that has been put in place over a number of years,” Dr Silcox said.

“That plan drives a lot of decision-making and helps councillors understand the implications and rate rises required if we can’t find future revenue streams.

“Any money we make from commercial facilities offset what ratepayers pay and without those revenue streams, rates have to go up.”

Close to 78 per cent of the City of Melville’s rate base is residential.

“There are a number of things we’re trying to do in the City to help our ratepayers and if you don’t agree and Council don’t agree, I will move on as CEO,” he said.

“I hope (ratepayers) can understand the broader context of where all this is coming from – you might not agree with the strategy or concept, but it is a genuine attempt to position the City to be sustainable.”