Clubs to merge?

THE future of sporting clubs in Bayswater will be discussed at a special council meeting Tuesday.

Under the spotlight will be bowling and tennis clubs which lease buildings from the council at subsidised—in some cases negligible—rates.

Spiralling maintenance costs on old buildings and plummeting membership has put pressure on clubs to merge and become more self-sufficient.

The Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club and Bedford Bowling Club—under 3km from each other—have held formal talks about merging.

Bayswater club secretary Dick Chipper says his 200 members were angry when rumours surfaced last year about Bedford wanting to swallow them up.

“We have since held talks with Bedford and the city, and we have formed an amalgamation committee,” he told the Voice.

“We would only agree to a merger if we were moving to a new purpose-built facility.”

Dwindling and ageing membership has forced many clubs across Perth to diversify or merge.

Since the 1980s the then-Maylands bowling club has slowly rebuilt, allowing the local darts club and the Perth Pirates Dragon Boat Club to share facilities.

In 1996 the club rebadged as the Maylands Peninsula Sports and Recreation Club.

Treasurer Bob Edwards says the 200-strong club now makes a small profit but if rent increased significantly, or if it was made to absorb maintenance costs, it would struggle.

Mayor Terry Kenyon says mergers are not on the agenda for Tuesday, but he does want to talk about consistency across the various leases.

“The city is looking to ensure that leases for all sporting clubs are entered into on an equitable and fair basis,” he says.

“Infrastructure costs for bowls and tennis facilities are being looked at as part of the city’s asset management plan and long-term financial plan.

“As part of this plan, the city is reviewing all of its assets and the future needs of the city, including sporting facilities.”

The Voice understands some councillors are irked that some clubs pay meaningful rents while others pay a token “peppercorn” rent.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

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