A PLAN to turf out Bayswater Sports Club from Hillcrest Reserve has been overturned by Bayswater councillors, but mystery still surrounds why they were ever threatened with eviction.
A farcical situation played out at last week’s council meeting as a city staff recommendation to terminate the club’s lease forbade discussing the reasons behind it because it contained “information about the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of a person”.
BSC is an umbrella body representing Bayswater Football Club and Bayswater Postels Cricket Club.
The only hiccups in living memory involved a glass door panel being broken, and rangers being called after some rowdy footy club members got on the roof in August.
BSC president Mark Thomas led a deputation to council a week ahead of the meeting, saying they thought everything had been smoothed over.
“If they thought the matter hadn’t been dealt with I would’ve thought a phone call to either club would’ve given us an understanding to what’s going on,” Mr Thomas said.
Cricket club president John Boyd said they’d been good tenants and “we’ve always paid our way and done the right thing. If the lease was to be terminated it’d be dire for us; it’d probably be the end of cricket at Hillcrest.”
The footy club has struggled financially after most of its 2020 season was cancelled by Covid and the council ruled out a rate discount.
In the distant past neighbours regularly complained about rowdiness, then the clubrooms burned down in 2011, but football club president Danielle Santoro told the council they’d had a near spotless record since.
“For the past 10 years or so we have constantly tried to make positive relationships with the city and it’s never been reciprocated”.
She acknowledged “we had a couple of young players who did the wrong thing – the ranger was called, the boys admit to saying stuff they probably shouldn’t have, but from what I believe from other witnesses there they had their dressing down from the ranger, they apologised, and moved back into the clubrooms.
“Apart from that we’ve had one other issue with a member who is now actually not part of our club; we’ve removed him from our club, and that was dealt with as well: There was a broken glass panel in the door and we had that fixed.
“So apart from that if you look at the past eight or nine years there’s been very little antisocial behaviour at our club and we took full responsibility for the two incidents in those years.”
She’d only found out about the termination a week before councillors were due to vote.
At the meeting councillor Steven Ostaszewskyj proposed the city let the clubs stay and set up a new contact arrangement to stay on top of any lease issues.
He also moved that a policy be developed outlining a proper process to deal with future breaches or disputes.
Cr Ostaszewskyj’s motion was unanimously supported.
Councillor Elli Petersen-Pik said the process “caused so much angst and frustration and it shouldn’t have occurred, so I’m very happy we have a policy to rectify [this] so it can never happen again to members of our community”.
But apart from rumours about rooftop shenanigans the clubs still don’t know why the termination was ever proposed.
Cr Giorgia Johnson requested a redacted version of the reasoning be released for the public, but the CEO said they’d need time to come up with a report that could be put to council at a later meeting.
by DAVID BELL