Momentum building to save bowls at Gladesville

by Lachlan Williams

Momentum continues to build as bowlers at the Gladesville Bowling & Sports Club attempt to save the club’s greens from being demolished.

The club’s Board of Directors recently decided to terminate competition bowls at the club, with their two greens planned to make way for a car park and beer garden.

Bowlers at the club are not taking the decision lying down however, putting up a fight to save their greens at a club that boasts a proud history of more than 63 years of bowls.

Members at the Sydney-club have taken action to do whatever they can, with several articles published in their local newspaper The Weekly Times, as well as starting a Facebook page and writing an open letter.

“Over the last 12 years, Gladesville Men’s Bowling Club has been the highest graded and most successful club in the local area; Gladesville Women’s Bowls is also one of the most successful in the local area, with feats that include winning state pennant finals,” the open letter read.

“Like most sports across the country, traditional membership has experienced decline nationally over recent years, and Gladesville is no exception, but the loss of members has been offset by an increase in bowls participation and a strong barefoot bowls business, which have introduced many new people to the sport, offered the local community a great recreational activity and bolstered the Club’s bar, gaming and bistro trade.

“Astonishingly, the Club’s Memorandum of Association, which serves as its constitution, proudly claims “to promote and encourage the game of Bowls”, however, it would be difficult to argue that the Board’s current future direction, inclusive of stripping members of both greens and sending them packing for another club, does anything of the sort.”

A change.org petition has also been created, with more than 700 people showing their support so far.

Members have argued the club remains profitable with bowls at the club, with the decision leaving bowlers “shocked”.

“As a result of this unjust and unnecessary decision, the local community faces the loss of a valuable community sporting facility, the typically older members face the loss of a social exercise facility which plays an important role in contributing to senior’s physical and mental health, all while the surrounding neighbourhood suffers increased noise and traffic related to the expansion of a new car park,” the open letter stated.

“The Men’s and Women’s Bowls Committee members are willing, and have in fact expressed desire, to negotiate with the Board to assist in maintaining the future of competition bowls.”

Members fighting for the club’s bowling future suggested several ways to support their survival bid.

“All members – both bowlers and non-bowlers – are encouraged to support the fight to retain the greens by write a personal letter of disappointment and disapproval to the Gladesville Bowling and Sports Club Board, C/O: 181A Ryde Road, Gladesville NSW 2111 or via email to ceo@gladesvillesporties.com.au.

“It is also recommended that the Local Member, The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP, who was elected Club Patron of Gladesville Bowling & Sports Club at last year’s annual general meeting, be contacted via The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP, 215 Victoria Road, Gladesville NSW 2111, Ph: 02 9817 4757, or via email to lanecove@parliament.nsw.gov.au.”