MELVILLE council has sealed the deal on its lawn bowls strategy.
The decision was made by the council earlier this week and paves the way for the Melville and Mount Pleasant bowling clubs to relocate to a new, mixed-use sporting facility in Tompkins Park, which they’ll share with nearby rugby, cricket, and football clubs.
The strategy had been deferred in June because bowlers didn’t want to abandon their long-term stomping ground, despite promises of a more sustainable future.
After months of back-and-forth, the Melville bowling club voted 85-14 to support the strategy, but some called foul because postal voting is not permitted in the club’s constitution.
Among them was former MP George Gear, who used a deposition earlier this week to tell the council the plan was a “landgrab strategy”, and that there was “a fixation” with putting sporting hubs under one roof when there was already a sporting hub at Tompkins Park.
He tried to raise the issue of the vote, but mayor Russell Aubrey cut him short, saying he couldn’t broach the subject as he wasn’t an official club representative.
Councillors Nick Pazolli and June Barton took Mr Gear’s side, and Cr Pazolli tried to defer the strategy so the bowling club could resolve its constitutional dispute, but his motion was lost.
Cr Pazolli also tried questioning the financial viability of the sporting hub, but deputy-mayor Rebecca Aubrey jumped in with a point of order.
“We are discussing a strategy to relocate a bowling club, and the financial details are irrelevant,” Cr Aubrey said.
Cr Pazolli tried challenging the point of order but lost 9-2 and had to retreat.
“For the purpose of good governance, I cannot support this motion”, Cr Pazolli said to cheers from the gallery.
But when it came to voting on the substantive motion, it was carried 9-2.
Melville is now free to pursue alternate recreational uses for the Melville bowling club land, with the current favourite being a state-of-the-art surf park.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM