14 C
Byron Shire
September 26, 2022

Keeping it local at the Bangalow Bowlo

Latest News

West Byron flooding

All east coast communities are now daily regularly warned by the ABC radio/TV, by the Bureau of Meteorology, to...

Other News

Hamster racing and home brew at King’s school

A local man who believes he was the first and possibly the only student to be expelled from the school of the King’s youth, says Charles’ opinion that Gordonstoun in Scotland was ‘Colditz in kilts’, was accurate.

U/12s win NSW country rugby championships

The Far North Coast U/12s rugby team won the NSW junior country championships earlier this month in Coffs Harbour. It’s...

Vale Uncle Jack Charles

I just needed to say how deeply sad I am to hear of the death of our beloved Uncle...

Frustrated train support

I gather Mr Clitheroe (comments on The Echo online: www.echo.net.au/rail-trail-option-to-be-explored) was present at Murwillumbah Railway Station on 24 September...

Flash flood alert Tweed, Byron, Ballina and Lismore Shires

At 2.43am a SES (State Emergency Service) text was received by people in the Tweed and Byron Shire warning of ‘Heavy rain, dangerous flash flooding for Tweed Byron area overnight’ with possible ‘flash flooding and rapid river rises’ in ‘low-lying areas’.

Public transport mask mandate to end

Masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport from tomorrow, Wednesday 21 September.

‘The Bangalow Bowlo’s future is in the hands of their membership’

Norths Collective CEO Luke Simmons tells us that many clubs have turned to ‘strong partners’ to secure their future. While some types of club amalgamations are partnerships, the Norths proposal is a takeover. All Bangalow Bowlo lands and assets (and debts) would be transferred to Norths ownership. The board of Norths remains unchanged, while the Bangalow Bowling and Sports Club Ltd will cease to operate. 112 years of local ownership and management comes to end. Norths say there will be an advisory group in Bangalow, but in reality the group will have no legal authority to make decisions. Current Bowlo members will be entitled to membership of Norths.

Members have been told that the club is in such dire financial circumstances after Covid and the devastating floods that giving it away is the only way to keep the doors open. However, it is clear to many members that patronage is flourishing once again. Bangalow’s population has grown significantly with many new professional families working from home and supporting the club on a regular basis. The school and childcare centres are full. Members have been asking the Bowlo board to suspend the amalgamation process, embrace the support and expertise on offer from the local community, and see how the club is going after a full year of trading. So far, the board has refused our request.

The Seagulls Club at Tweed Heads (owned by Norths) operates around 200 pokies. Norths admits that 56 per cent of its total revenue comes from gambling. They have proposed to triple the Bowlo’s turnover to around $6 million per year, with pokies and gambling making up 15 per cent. Therefore, the Norths plan is to raise the current Bowlo pokie revenue of $50k p/a (from three old machines) to around $900,000 pa!

Members will soon be invited to vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that so far has been negotiated confidentially between the Bowlo and Norths. No drafts have been shared with the wider membership for input. When notice of the amalgamation vote soon goes out, members will have 21 days to read the MOU and consider alternatives. However, NO changes can be made to the MOU. I have been told by a Bowlo director that the Norths board will not accept a process where the Bangalow membership can propose amendments to the MOU version approved by Norths. When the vote comes, it will just be a YES or NO. While it takes a 75 per cent majority vote to change a single word in the Bowlo Constitution, the vote to ‘give away the farm’ is 50 per cent + 1 of those who attend the meeting. This is the actual extent to which the future of the Bowlo ‘is in the hands of the membership’!

Finally, members should be under no misconceptions about what the MOU can and can’t do. After the MOU term has expired (ten years), the Norths membership (around 60,000 of them) can vote to sell any asset, just as the Bowlo membership voted to sell land it owned ten years ago.

However, unless the MOU specifically prohibits it, the Norths board can build holiday accommodation units for its members and their guests any time during the MOU term.

During the MOU period, any deviation from its terms will have to be picked up by local members. The onus will be on them to try to enforce the MOU or lodge a formal complaint with the relevant authority. After the term of the MOU, binding agreements about gambling, kids’ play areas, support for local sports clubs, investment in buildings, maintenance of local cultural and social activities expire. This is the ‘future of the club’ that is now in the hands of the membership. Bangalow Bowlo members are urged to pay their $10 annual membership fee ASAP, update their email details with the club, and be alert to the upcoming amalgamation vote. Members can go to the ‘keepthebowlolocal’ webpage www.keepthebowlolocal.com.au to see our alternative pokie-free business plan for saving our local club.

Sol Ibrahim, Bangalow

Previous articleBetrayed by Byron Council
Next articlePaying insurance

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Odd row of lights

Just following up the letter from Sarah Smith in the August 31 issue. It was a Starlink satellite train. My webcam captured the scene. Michael...

Trampling of the graves of the murdered: reply to Will Liley

As I read Will Liley’s response to my article in dedication to my late uncle, I recalled the poem in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Clandestine in Chile:

Murwillumbah mega-school merger public meeting on Monday

Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm.

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.