The Bowlo, a treasured community asset in Bangalow very popular with young families, is now destined to be part of Norths Collective, a big city franchise with a business model based on property development and gaming machines, a potent combination that produces growth on steroids and introduces community harm.
The Bangalow Progress Association was an active participant in the Keep the Bowlo Local group, a team of talented individuals with the diverse skills needed to ensure that the Bowlo continued as a sustainable community-led business.
Group skills included hospitality, marketing, events management, finance, legal, and council experience. These skills are available in Bangalow because of a high concentration of business ownership and a culture of active and strong collaboration on community matters.
Sadly, the Bowlo board became convinced that the certainty of immediate financial support from Norths was the essential consideration. Following the publication of the MOU, various conditions and processes were used to significantly diminish amalgamation opposition with a regulatory framework that enabled complete domination of events and suppression of strong community sentiment.
The ClubsNSW business model has been widely reported (refer SMH editorial 18/11/22) as being out of control with bloated developments creating community misery and attracting crime. Bangalow loses its favourite family friendly venue and Norths gain ownership of a property asset now worth an estimated $5m, but considerably more in ten years. Effectively a wealth transfer from community to big business. Clearly government intervention is well overdue. We move on, but many in Bangalow regard this transition as tragic and avoidable.