Smith: No coup

MELVILLE Bowling Club president Tim Smith has resigned as a “circuit breaker” to try and get funding for a new clubhouse back on track.

Mr Smith acknowledged that his close ties to Melville mayor George Gear had led some to view the club as too political, but slammed any suggestion he was the victim of an internal coup.

“Not at all was there a move against me; it was completely my decision,” Mr Smith said.

“I’d come to loggerheads with the state and federal governments [regarding funding].” 

The proposal for a new $20 million clubhouse on the Tompkins Park site was never about the bowling club, the former East Fremantle mayor said. 

“It’s all about providing significant social facilities in a significant land space for the community of Melville,” he said.

The project came to a stand-still in March when councillor Matthew Woodall called time-out on a push by councillor Clive Ross for the council to fully fund the new clubhouse.

Cr Ross had initially flagged a three-tiered funding system in December last year, with the state contributing $10m and the council and federal governments $5m each. 

Funding

In March he suddenly changed his mind and moved that the full $20m come from the council budget, which prompted Cr Woodall to suggest the council take a step back to investigate the funding.

He prevailed in a close vote, but despite the motion also calling for the staff to report back with plans within a month, Mr Smith said they’d heard nothing.

“The very disappointing thing is it’s still gone nowhere,” Mr Smith said, pointing to $190m worth of unallocated funds he believes Melville council should be spending for the community’s benefit.

The push for a new clubhouse has its genesis in the council’s support for a wave park at Tompkins Park under former mayor Russell Aubrey, which would have seen the MBC’s current home bulldozed and a new shared facility built elsewhere on the park.

Mr Smith believe’s the previous administration was “hellbent” on destroying the MBC. 

While he survived that push, Mr Smith says the clubhouse stalemate was the final straw for his time as president.

Although still a social member, he hasn’t been back to the club since resigning, giving the new admin time to make their mark. 

“I’ve still got good friends there and I’d be happy to step up if required,” he said. 

Jack Bolton has been appointed new president of the MBC. 

by RYAN BAYAKLY

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