Petition to save bowls club that's 'vital to the town'
A PETITION signed by more than 1350 people is calling on the Noosa Council to help block the Cooroy RSL Memorial Bowls Club being sold to real estate or commercial developers.
The petition, organised by Bevan Mahoney, of the Cooroy Lawn Bowls Interest Group, and handed into council's Tewantin office last week, wants to see a sale to local interests intent on retaining and reopening the facility once more as a sporting and community hub.
"We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our councillors to retain the sport and recreation zoning of the Opal St lawn bowls precinct," the petition said.
RSL club member Gale Duffield of Cooroy, speaking on behalf of the petitioners, said those who signed fully accept that the bowls club must be sold to ease the financial strain on the RSL.
"There are local investors who are bidding for the property with the intent of permitting the Cooroy Bowls Club to be re-created and provided for as tenants," Mr Duffield said.
"The bowlers would welcome this opportunity and the known figures of their financial support for the current operation , would make the local ownership viable."
Mr Duffield said the bowls club bar was "trading well" with several major functions held during the lead-up to Christmas before its doors were abruptly shut Christmas Eve.
The site is being marketed by Colliers International as a "Cooroy infill opportunity" with possible uses as "land/development hotel/leisure other on the 3352sq m site with expressions of interest closing on March 19 at 4pm.
What the petitioners do not want to see is the RSL board accepting a "golden handshake" from a developer to help the club's financial bottom line.
Mr Duffield said this outcome would "destroy the social fabric of the town for all time", whereas a sale to bowls-friendly interests would ensure the "health and well being" of more than 200 bowlers.
"I see the bowls club as an invaluable asset in a town such as Cooroy," Mr Duffield said.
"Our bowlers come not only from Cooroy, but as far as Cooran , Eumundi and Tewantin .
The Cooroy Area Residents Association is running an online poll which reads:
The bowls club is up for sale. What would you like to see in its place? Choose up to three options. Retain the bowls club. A swimming pool with a recreation club. A community centre. Regular housing. Townhouses. A shopping centre. To vote got to http://www.caracooroy.com.
COOROY RSL board chairman John Simmons says there is nothing "sinister" in the sale of the Cooroy bowls club. Mr Simmons said the simple fact was that this club - which the RSL saved from closing seven years ago - cannot pay its way. "The operation isn't viable and we've tried and tried for about seven years to make it viable, but we've unfortunately not been able to achieve it," Mr Simmons said. "The club's got over 4000 members and there's less than 100 bowlers. It would be wonderful to be able to maintain it, but being the way it is, we can't keep running at a loss. It would have shut seven years ago if the merger (of the two clubs) hadn't happened. "The club would love to maintain it for the community - there's nothing sinister," he said. "The main thing is the club has maintained it for seven years otherwise it would have gone under - and we've done everything to maintain it." Mr Simmons said purchasing expressions of interest have not closed, "so the board hasn't discussed anything as yet".