Bowling club building must be shared
June 27, 2019
The Wellington City Council renewed the Swords Club lease for the Brooklyn Bowling Club on the condition other community groups can use it.
The Swords Club has had the lease for five years and the council was going to automatically renew it until members of the Greater Brooklyn Residents Association spoke out. The council was going to give it a 10-year lease but due to community debate, reduced it to five.
City Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said there was big discussion about it in the council meeting. However, no changes were made of the lease and the vote was unanimous.
She was pleased with the result for both the swords club and the community. “Siting down and working it out to use the space well is really the key role,” she said. “They need to really open it up for community use for recreational purposes.”
Chair of the Greater Brooklyn Residents Association Sophie Jerram told the council that she wanted to see greater use of the facility. It was a special building to have in Brooklyn. “In the town belt area, there’s not a lot of neighbours. It’s got an ambience around it that feels peaceful and quiet.”
When people knew the bowling club would be available to book, she said there would be many groups interested. The Swords Club needed to make it clearer how people could actually make a booking.
She thought the Swords Club managed the facility well but wasn’t in a position to run a community centre. “It’s not that they shouldn’t have access to it. It’s just that they shouldn’t have exclusive access to it.”
Former president of Brooklyn Junior Football club Ian Patterson said the club used the fields in the facility but not the building itself. It was not able to access the toilets inside. The club also tried to book the building for social gatherings but was told by the Swords Club that it would be in use.
It was easier to have a social event after a game right next to the fields. They were having to travel afterwards to another community centre for it. “We’ll play football there and then drive a couple of kilometres over there to get to that other event.”
He said the Swords Club needed to make it easier for groups to book and use the facilities. “We didn’t feel it was as available as it could be.”
Head coach of Swords Club Victoria Lamb said the building had always been available for groups to use but nobody had ever approached it with concerns about the use. “We would appreciate they had the courtesy to come talk to us. If we don’t know about things, we can’t deal with them.”
The clubs’ contact details were publicly available and people should be able to easily contact them. “We’d be delighted for other groups to come in and use it.”
The Swords Club had a lot of equipment so needed a place they could store it. She said they also made good use of the building, using it seven days a week. However, other groups would be able to use in the morning and afternoon and on some weekends.