Gosford bowls under threat of land reclassification

April 3, 2024
Clyde Mooney

The long-term future of Gosford Bowling Club continues to be in doubt in the wake of Central Coast Council’s plans to sell or lease a number of its landholdings.

A review of assets found multiple sites Council deemed either surplus to its needs or possessing the potential for long-term leases. Reclassifying land from community to operational makes it easier for Council to sell a site.

In August 2023, Central Coast Council (CCC) CEO David Farmer announced that Council believed the site where the bowling club resides could be better utilised, and that it didn’t plan to continue owning it indefinitely.

CCC proffers that it aims to support the revitalisation masterplan on the Gosford waterfront and stadium, revealed in September 2022, which it says will increase flexibility “for potential future uses”.

The masterplan depicts a high-rise hotel on the bowling club site.

However, the current proposal doesn’t make mention of a hotel, and states the site is leased to the Central Coast Leagues Club, with access provided to Gosford Bowling Club (GBC). What’s more, it specifies that Council is “not proposing to sell the site or change the current lease conditions” with the leagues club.

This lease is set to expire in December, and although Council has indicated its intention to provide an extension on the lease, Farmer suggests it would likely be the last one and “would be transitional”.

Guy Robins, former President of Gosford (City) Bowling Club, criticises what he says are CCC’s plans to remove all open space land around the Gosford CBD and waterfront, describing the threat to the bowling club as “arrogant” and suggesting that progressive councils are finding a balance between development and open space for community.

Management at the GBC have not offered a public statement, but club members are calling for the community to speak up in its defence at upcoming public hearings.

Robbins explains that the club is built on land that was originally the property of the bowling club and was given to Erina Shire Council. He accuses CCC of having “no understanding” of this, but that it is well documented by bowling club historians. He laments that the area needs an elected Council that “represents community attitudes”.

Reportedly, members in the mid-1930s purchased houses that later became number one green, and that the space was later donated to Council. It is zoned RE1 Public Recreation, being acquired for a public purpose.

Adjacent to this, what is the northern carpark and part of the greens, is owned by the rate-paying Leagues Club.

Separately, Gosford RSL launched its all-new $50 million site last month, after two years of planning and construction, delivering a massive multi-storey facility to the locals.  

Public hearings on the reclassifications are set to be held at Erina Centre (Tuesday, 9 April) and Wyong Council chambers (Thursday, 11 April).


Tags

Central Coast Council, Central Coast Leagues Club, Gosford Bowling Club


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