Melville city councilors have postponed the decision to award the Melville Bowling Club $ 5 million until March.
The grant request, which is not supported by a business case, was put on the board’s agenda by newly elected councilor Clive Ross.
The motion called on the city to give the Bowls Club – of which Mayor George Gear is a member – a $ 5 million grant to redevelop the site and build facilities capable of accommodating commercial tenants, including a Dome Cafe. and potentially the headquarters of Bowls WA.
All income generated by these subleases would be retained by the Melville Bowling Club.
Funding for the Town of Melville would be contingent on the Bowling Club obtaining separate grants worth $ 10 million from the Government of Western Australia and $ 5 million from the Commonwealth of Nations.
Cr Ross’ motion stated that “the club has had discussions with federal and state officials who will support the club’s federal and state grant applications.”
Cr Ross asserted that the information was “confidential” and that its disclosure “could result in the loss of any opportunity to obtain funding”.
Tangney MHR Ben Morton, whose electorate includes Tompkins Park, confirmed that he had met the club and had been presented with “very, very rough sketches.”
“There is no federal funding commitment for this project,” said Mr. Morton.
Neither Local Government Minister John Carey nor Sports Minister Tony Buti have met with the club, nor has he applied for funding through the WA government’s Community Sports and Recreation Facility Fund, which provides grants of up to $ 2 million for sports and recreational infrastructure.
At the December 14 board meeting, the board narrowly voted to postpone any decision until a meeting in March, where they are also expected to discuss a larger draft Attadale and Alfred Cove master plan. Foreshore. The 7-6 vote to be postponed included Mr. Gear’s support.
Mr Gear, Cr Ross and Cr Katy Mair, who are social members of the club, declared non-partisanship interests for Tuesday’s vote, along with Crs Glynis Barber, Margaret Sandford, Karen Wheatland and Nicholas Pazolli.
Cr Barber said that while the Melville Bowling Club was a fantastic club, the board should follow ‘due process’ as it needed more time to review the proposal and the future business case with city officials. .
Cr Barber said council may consider building an enclosure at Alfred Cove similar to the bocce facility in the town of Cockburn, which hosts several sports. She said that while the council has called on many clubs and associations along the foreshore of Attadale and Alfred Cove to halt development plans until the master plan is finalized, this Wouldn’t have been a good idea if the council “had catapulted Melville Bowling Club to the top of the line”.
“I just want to make sure that what we do for MBC passes the publicity test and is in no way slandered,” she said.
It is the latest chapter in a long saga centered on the sports facility, which earlier this year entered into a 50-year lease on its prime riverside location at Tompkins Park.
In 2016, the strip of land was also the proposed location for a controversial wave park, a project that emerged from an “unsolicited expression of interest” by Urbnsurf developers and met strong opposition from the from some members of the community.
Two community groups – first the Alfred Cove Action Group and then the Swan Foreshore Protection Association – sprang up to campaign to keep the bowling club at the expense of the wave park, which was eventually shut down in 2018. .
The SFPA, which is chaired by Cr Ross, provided thousands of dollars in election advertising to six of the city’s 12 current councilors, as well as Mr. Gear, who was elected mayor in 2019. He went on to shell out more. $ 6,000 in advertising to help secure a Cr Ross seat on the board in the last October election.
Melville Town Manager Martin Tieleman confirmed that no business case had been received from the Melville Bowling Club to support the grant.
An advisory note given to advisers ahead of the December 14 meeting indicated that a wide range of supporting documentation – including a business case, feasibility study, needs assessment and management plan – would normally be part of the package. a grant application of this magnitude.
“The business plan is to get grants, to use those grants to build improved facilities, which in turn secures sources of income that will ensure the sustainability of the community facility by providing sufficient income to maintain the facility. installation and allow its renovation and upgrades in the future. “Cr Ross told PerthNow.
“The burden on the City of maintaining the premises is removed, providing an additional benefit to the community. “
Cr Ross rejected the suggestion that his involvement with the SFPA – a group that has long supported the Melville Bowling Club – created a conflict of interest that should prevent him from voting on his own initiative.
“SFPA has no involvement in this matter and I entirely reject any adverse inference or conflict of interest,” he said.
“It is well established that keeping election promises does not create any conflict of interest as these issues progress. “