Sunday saw 450 to 500 members of the Bangalow Bowlo come out and voice their opinion on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the board of Bangalow Bowlo had negotiated to join Norths Collective.
It was a passionate and heated debate as each side put forward their position. The Keep the Bowlo Local group raised concerns over the loss of community ownership of valuable land and buildings, increase of pokies, and no guarantee of funding for local sporting clubs.
Bangalow Bowlo President, Atosha Clancy highlighted the financial risk of foreclosure, the lack of money for essential repairs and Norths’ commitment ‘of more than $4 million dollars capital investment [and] not less than $30,500 sports club sponsorship every year.’
The vote went in favour of amalgamation with 289 ‘Yes’ votes and 192 ‘No’ votes.
‘It’s been a difficult discussion over the last few months on the future of the Bowlo,’ said local councillor and member of the Keep the Bowlo Local group, Asren Pugh.
‘Members made a clear decision today to support the amalgamation with Norths. I’m obviously disappointed, but I respect it.’
Luke Simmons, CEO of Norths Collective told The Echo, ‘We have enjoyed hearing about the history of the club and why it is such an important part of the Bangalow community’.
‘The response from the Bangalow community was remarkable. It was great to see the care people have for their club.’
Mr Pugh reminded those in favour of amalgamation they ‘now have a big task to hold Norths true to all the promises that they made’. However, ‘our community must come together and move forward. We have much more in common than that which divides us.’
The Norths membership must now vote to accept the amalgamation and then the amalgamation goes before the regulator, NSW Liquor and Gaming, for final approval.
Atosha reminded the community that the Bowlo still really needs good patronage to survive the short term.