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Easts Take ‘Property Developer’ Approach to Bowlo Application

By Siriol Dafydd (@sirioldafyddwriter) on February 22, 2019 in News

Really testing the limits, by Easts Leagues

If you live in the Waverley or Bondi area, you’ve probably heard a lot recently about the fate of the Waverley Bowlo. Despite local efforts to save it in the past, it seems that the powers that be are still intent on tearing it down.

Easts Group, which owns the site, submitted its latest DA to Waverley Council on December 20 last year. It proposed a development for 90 apartments, pool and gym for residents, a 76 place childcare centre, two bowling greens and a club.

In reaction, local residents have expressed concerns about the loss of community spaces, the impact on traffic and the height of the building, amongst other things. Many are also sceptical about the timing of the application, seemingly submit- ted during the busy holiday period in an attempt to minimise public awareness.

Easts Group has denied any foul play, however, and a spokesperson told The Beast “the club was always committed to an open process” and that residents’ concerns “will all be addressed as part of the DA process”.

Easts Group also hosted two information sessions last month in which the project’s traffic experts, town planners and architects were able to hear locals’ concerns first hand.

“The club is trading at a significant deficit, which has been the case since it was acquired by Easts,” a spokesperson said.

“Easts has sought to provide an integrated mixed-use development, which combines generations and community uses to enable its continued contribution back to the community.”

But some locals just aren’t buying it.

“The Waverley Bowling Club is not a failing club with a dwindling membership, it is a busy, highly valued community hub that has been strategically left to be unprofitable,” club member and local resident Bernadette Hayes told The Beast. “For the Easts board to maintain that they can’t run the club without an $83 million development that includes 90 units is ridiculous.”

Mark Nathan from the ‘Save the Waverley Bowlo’ group echoed Ms Hayes’ thoughts.

“The Bowlo is a community asset that for many years has been a social hub,” he said. “It is not only about championship bowling, it caters for groups of mates having a barefoot bowl or families looking for a place to relax and let their kids run around.

“It has a long history and is one of the few family friendly clubs in the area. If the site gets overdeveloped, the open space will be lost for good.”

Though opposed to the current DA, Mr Nathan recognised that some changes to the club need to be made and is eager to see continued communication between Easts and the local community in order to get the best outcome.

“Easts have stated they are open to compromise, however, they have not reflected the community’s feedback about acceptable height, scale and traffic in this DA,” he said.

“Instead they have adopted the ‘property developer’ approach of testing what they can get away with. It is important that all concerned residents let their objections be known as this will help achieve a more acceptable outcome.”

If you’re reading this as soon as The Beast hit your mailbox, you still can lodge your feedback to Waverley Council at dasubmissions@waverley.nsw.gov.au as community consultation is open until February 25.

Peter Monks, Director of Waverley Futures, told The Beast that as the DA indicates that the cost of the project is in the order of $83 million the decision-making body will be the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel rather than Council’s Waverley Local Panel.

“Council planning staff will consider the DA, the public submissions made on the DA, and prepare a report to be presented to the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel for their determination,” he said. “This is a major application and it will take several months to be assessed.”