In a blow to the campaign to save the East Brisbane Bowls Club, Chair of Brisbane City Council’s Environment, Parks and Sustainability Civic Cabinet, Councillor Tracy Davis, announced today that Council will proceed with its plans to revamp Mowbray Park. The project includes demolishing the East Brisbane Bowls Club.
“Mowbray Park, on the banks on the river at East Brisbane, is an incredibly beautiful location that residents have been enjoying for almost 120 years,” Cr Davis said.
Cr Davis said Council would retain the Churchie boat shed and the croquet club.
“However, it is clear Mowbray Park can be better utilised, so we’ve asked locals how they’d like to see it improved through two rounds of community consultation.”
Cr Davis said Council had a strong response from residents for more space for picnics, barbecues, and recreation.
The Save Our Bowlo group has held rallies against the demolition of the Bowls Club throughout the year, most recently in King George Square on 7 December.
The group said in a recent statement that a Right to Information application indicated that most residents wanted to see the Bowls Club upgraded and its use extended.
Labor Councillor Kara Cook for the Morningside Ward said on Facebook today:
“5 days till Christmas and the only present The LNP Council are giving to the residents of East Brisbane is the demolition of their beloved Bowlo.”
“Despite thousands of residents signing petitions, rallying to save the community facility and writing hundreds of letters and emails it will be demolished for a carpark.”
Ms Cook has been supporting the residents’ campaign to save the Bowls Club along with other opposition Councillors and MP’s, Terri Butler, Amy MacMahon, Jonathan Sri and others.
“This Council does not listen to residents; it does not care what you think, and it certainly doesn’t value our community facilities.”
“I’m sorry we couldn’t save this space and that we have such a heartless and out of touch Council,” Cr Cook said.
Michelle (Dotty) Phillips of Save Our Bowlo said today that Council’s decision is a “gut wrenching waste”.
“We are disgusted at the fake consultation process and lack of regard for local heritage and the cultural life of the community.”
“This is a poor planning decision that exposes the park to carbon dioxide, noise, visual pollution and leaves a gaping hole in creative infrastructure for emerging Brisbane bands and artists and ignored the demand for affordable space for community groups.”
“Displaced businesses, artists and locals will continue to fight to save our Bowlo,” Ms Phillips said.
Under the Final Concept Plan for Mowbray Park, Council will move the existing car park from its current location near the riverbank and convert the space into additional greenspace with covered barbeque/picnic facilities.
The new carpark will occupy ground at the former East Brisbane bowls club on Lytton Road.
Council says the plan will provide additional park area of over 4500 square metres with upgraded playground equipment, creative lighting for night activities and a new pedestrian connection to Eskgrove Street.
“We want more greenspace, not car parking space, on the Brisbane riverfront and that’s what our plan will ensure,” Coorparoo Ward Councillor Fiona Cunningham said.
In its statement, Council said Backbone Youth Arts, whose lease over the former bowls club expired in November, will move to a purpose-built performance facility located in Seven Hills in February.
Council said the new facility in Seven Hills would include a 155 tiered-seat theatre with a seventy-two square metre stage, a rehearsal room, workshop, office space, studio with full black-out capabilities, white/green screens, an adjoining kitchenette, audio-visual equipment and modern café and bar facilities.
Council’s statement reports a Backbone spokesperson saying, “Backbone is excited to be moving to a new home at Seven Hills Hub – Backbone will be managing a number of creative spaces and look forward to activating the hub with and for the local community.”
Cover image, Council’s concept drawing for the converted Bowl’s Club space.
Story updated: 20 Dec, 10.30 am