HAVE YOUR SAY

Balgowlah Bowling Club: Noise complaints from some residents while others sing its praises

DEBATE: Balgowlah Bowling Club is at the middle of a community debate. Picture: Geoff Jones
DEBATE: Balgowlah Bowling Club is at the middle of a community debate. Picture: Geoff Jones

CLAIMS of drunk, noisy parents and unruly kids may be upsetting "more than a dozen" residents near Balgowlah Bowling Club, but others have come to the club's defence.

At council's recent meeting, Balgowlah Heights resident Manish Patel told councillors he spoke on behalf of more than a dozen residents who are fed up with regular noise disturbance from the club.

"Just this past weekend we had cause to call the club and police on three occasions," he said.

"Patrons drink freely, often excessively and loudly, swearing and shouting while their children roam unsupervised around the once pristine bowling greens. The kids make unruly noise, vandalise property and have been observed urinating on each other and engaging in other unacceptable and dangerous behaviour after dark."

Northern Beaches Police crime manager Detective Inspector Michael Boutouridis said the club "doesn't feature anywhere on my list for hot spots" for noise complaints.

COMPLAINTS: Balgowlah Heights resident Manish Patel spoke out against Balgowlah Bowling Club at council's recent meeting.

COMPLAINTS: Balgowlah Heights resident Manish Patel spoke out against Balgowlah Bowling Club at council's recent meeting.

Mr Patel also pleaded with councillors not to write off the club's historical debt of $65,585, incurred during an extended period of non-payment of rent to Manly Council.

"Through our council rates we would effectively be funding our own suffering if council elect to cancel these debts, the club must pay what is due in its entirety," he said.

In April, council agreed to write off the debt to relieve financial pressure on the club to "allow it to continue to focus on encouraging greater use of the club to ensure its survival".

A number of nearby residents came to the club's defence on social media, including Diana Rampton who posted: "We love having the bowlo next door. And the sound of kids playing is lovely, reminds me of my own childhood."

Matt Henry also posted that he lives very close to the club and loves "that life has been put back into this wonderful facility. Whoever has an issue with it, have a good look at yourselves".

While Kathy Stone wrote: "This campaign to close the club is malicious, selfish and without compassion or sense of community. If this community doesn't suit one household, move somewhere else".

Life has been put back into this wonderful facility. Whoever has an issue with it, have a good look at yourselves.

Nearby resident Matt Henry

Tony Wagener has been club secretary manager since February this year, and has run Carly Mays Kitchen with partner Carly May Nicol since March 2020.

Like many clubs, he said membership was decreasing prior to the introduction of family membership in November 2019 and numbers are now back to the pinnacle levels of the 70s and 80s (around 200).

He said the last police visit to the club was in December and allegations that the club has been fined are incorrect. The club, with assistance from a professional company, has developed processes to "reduce noise and respond to neighbours' concerns". He said money had been invested into improving the bar, kitchen, and amenities, and purchasing curtains to reduce noise and light.

"As a community venue, we respect everyone's right to an opinion," he said. "Our objective is to operate in harmony with the community."

Mr Wagener said one bowling green had been decommissioned due to low bowling memberships and the area used as a supervised children's play area for club patrons until 7.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to accommodate new clientele.

Have something to say? Send a letter to the editor at: editor@northernbeachesreview.com.au

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: