A NUMBER of bowling clubs are set to be relocated and possibly merged into two sporting hubs in Melville.
The city’s five clubs have around 800 members, but council CEO Shayne Silcox says that’s down an average of 16 per cent since 2010, placing a financial strain on the clubs and his council.
A council-commissioned review has recommended a northern hub at Tompkins Park near the Melville and Mount Pleasant clubs, and a southern hub at Morris Buzacott Reserve, home to Kardinya Bowling Club.
Leeming Bowling Club is already part of a sporting hub on Melville’s southern boundary and would not have to move.
The report suggests Melville and Mt Pleasant could co-locate or amalgamate.
Mt Pleasant vice president Barry Elliss says his members are “devastated” at the thought of moving to Tompkins Park.
“This report is based solely on the financial requirements of council and does not take into account the needs of ratepayers and club members,” he says.
“We are a financially solid club and the membership numbers quoted by the council do not take into account social members and their contribution.
“The constant uncertainty over our relocation has had a detrimental effect on membership renewals and attracting people to the club.”
Councillor Cameron Schuster had wanted Mt Pleasant shifted to the Shirley Strickland reserve, selling it’s Bedford Street clubhouse to fund the move.
Dr Silcox says Melville ratepayers are heavily subsidising lawn bowls compared to other sports. “The strategy also considers the current oversupply of bowling greens, which drives up associated costs for supporting the facilities, burdening the clubs with greater financial pressure and spreading their membership base,” says Dr Silcox.
“This burden is well recognised by the management of the clubs and means they are less able to sustain themselves with a declining number of players.
“By developing the lawn bowls strategy and having a clear vision of how we can better support the clubs into the future, we hope to be able to give them state of the art facilities, a wider membership base, reduced financial burdens and, importantly, an opportunity to preserve their history with their future secured.”
The strategy’s recommendations will be voted on at the Melville council meeting on June 21.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK