Brisbane City Council Says Demolition Proposal For Former East Brisbane Bowls Club Fulfils Resident Wishes

Brisbane City Council insists its proposed demolition of the East Brisbane Bowls Club building "fulfils the wishes" of most residents, despite an internal report saying residents want the site upgraded for community use. 

Earlier this year, the council proposed to demolish the former bowls club building as part of a draft plan to upgrade heritage-listed Mowbray Park in East Brisbane.

The proposal sparked a strong community campaign to keep the 1970s-era building, which has been leased to community youth arts organisation Backbone since 2018.

The council said feedback from 560 residents showed a "clear theme" of people finding the bowls club site unsightly and underused, along with high demand for more green space and picnic areas.

Plan for 'most popular and feasible'

But a "community engagement summary" document released to ABC Radio Brisbane under Right to Information (RTI) found residents wanted several improvements such as better park lighting, the reinstatement of a bandstand, and better management of commuter cyclists.

It also included a bullet point saying residents wanted to "upgrade the bowls club site for community use – underutilised and unattractive".

The June draft concept plan published on the council website included the same summary of resident feedback, but removed the word "upgrade" and simply said "bowls club site underused and unattractive".

The council's environment, parks and sustainability chair Tracy Davis said the documents released under RTI "confirm most residents want to use Mowbray Park more for picnics, barbecues and recreation and that's precisely what our proposal will deliver".

"Residents put forward a range of ideas and our plan reflects what is most popular and feasible while preserving the park's historic aspects such as the croquet club, which has operated continuously for 115 years and is frequently used for other community events," Cr Davis said in a statement.

"Removing the building formerly used as a bowls club, rather than spending ratepayer's money upgrading it, would fulfil the wishes of most residents for more usable public space in Mowbray Park."

The council has not undertaken any formal cost assessments for upgrading the bowls club building.

Community facility needed

The full comments left by respondents to the survey were also released to the ABC under RTI.

Residents left more than 15 comments highlighting the bowls club site as a place that needed redevelopment and refurbishment to become a community space for the east Brisbane community.

Some suggestions included redeveloping the building into an upgraded community facility with cafes or restaurants, a library, or a major community youth arts hub, incorporating Backbone.

Suggestions for the bowling greens were for a community garden, produce markets, and better green space incorporating the bowls club building.

"The now-defunct bowls club is an asset that should be repurposed for weekend markets, more structured children's play, moonlight cinema, outdoor yoga classes or the like. The bar and bistro should serve as a low key community hub for families," one comment said.

At least seven comments indicated the building should be removed.

"The bowls club needs to be removed and replaced with restaurants, cafes and bars," another comment said.

Under a question about what new activities residents wanted, more than 250 said they wanted to participate in relaxation, picnics and barbecues. 

A total of 226 respondents also indicated they wanted to be able to purchase food and drinks at the park, 173 said they wanted to attend public events and markets, and165 respondents said they wanted to enjoy art and culture at the park.

'Flattening the future'

In response to a question on notice from Labor councillors in September, the council said 40 eastern suburb community groups and 14 sporting groups were currently on a waiting list to secure a lease on a community facility.

Lessees of council facilities are responsible for maintaining the buildings to the standards of the era they were built in.

In July, Backbone issued a statement thanking the council for its continued support.

Backbone said it had held more than 1,596 events and 14 festivals at the East Brisbane Bowls club since 2016, welcoming 41,847 audience members and participants to its programs and 5,911 artists.

"By remaining at the old East Brisbane Bowls Club, Backbone can build upon our achievements," Backbone's statement said.

Opposition deputy leader Kara Cook said the documents "clearly state that locals wanted the site upgraded for broader community use".

"These documents confirm the LNP council undertook sham community consultation. There is no doubt they had a premeditated plan to demolish and destroy the East Brisbane Bowls Club site," Cr Cook said.

"… Resident views are once again ignored and the LNP council bulldozers will be flattening the future of this site and those who utilise it."

Cr Davis said the council was in "advanced talks" with Backbone about its proposed relocation to the Seven Hills Hub.

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane/brisbane-city-council-says-demolition-proposal-for-former-east-brisbane-bowls-club-fulfils-resident-wishes/ar-AAPNYOz

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Filed Under: MSN
Brisbane City Council says demolition proposal for former East Brisbane Bowls Club fulfils resident wishes

Source:MSN

Brisbane City Council says demolition proposal for former East Brisbane Bowls Club fulfils resident wishes