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Bowling revamp aims to cut bills

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012

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Submissions on plans to revamp the Ponsonby Bowling Club close on Monday.

Location Management Limited has applied for resource consent to redevelop the Jervois Rd club which would include 14 residential units, two bowling greens, a new clubhouse and a basement car park.

The original venture, lodged by Sport and Recreational Developments in 2009, proposed 11 residential units but fell through.

The new proposal uses the same amount of building coverage but offers more parking and housing.

Location Management managing director Mark Weipers says the issues confronting the bowling club, namely financial woes, are still a problem.

"I think inherently it's the same issue for the bowling club, which has an old premises in need of maintenance - and that comes with a lot of cost," he says.

"They also want to lift their ability to get income. They do that by attracting members and making it an attractive place for corporate days, tournaments and social events."

Mr Weipers says from the bowling club's perspective, "freshening up" the site is the way to go. The application is very similar to the original one, he says, but uses the space in a different way to accommodate more housing.

"In the original plan there was a lot of wasted space, and using the same land envelope we've been able to make space for 14 apartments," he says.

"This all flows through the council's Auckland Plan, which aims for more density instead of spreading out."

He says his company spent a lot of time with council officers and they were very supportive.

As for community resistance, Mr Weipers says, "someone will want to have their say, and that is fine", but points out there are a few other developments that have been built in the area in recent years.

Bowling club president John Ivory says the proposal is the only way to keep the club, established in 1893, alive.

"This building has seen a Depression and two world wars," he says. "Look around you. Look at the walls, walk on the floors here and you'll understand why we need to do this.

"We've had to ban dancing upstairs because it's just not safe."

Mr Ivory says the club looked at many alternatives before settling on Location Management's proposal and he hopes its application goes smoothly so building can get under way in the middle of next year.

While building is going on, the bowling club will shut down and members will look to hire another green.

■ The public can make submissions on the plans until December 3. Go to bit.ly/QZeSqk to view the plans.

To make a submission go to bitly.com/SoMQXc or send a written submission to Auckland Council, Private Bag 92300, Auckland 1142.

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