DARWIN could have its own international-standard bowls centre early in 2016.
Plans are in the pipeline for a $1.7 million upgrade of the Darwin Bowls Club in Conacher St, Fannie Bay to create the most modern facility for the sport in Australia.
The redevelopment would mean updating one of the present grass surface rinks to a synthetic green, which would be covered by an all-weather roof with a category-four cyclone rating.
Darwin club treasurer Barry Orr said the plans were at least four years in the making and would require substantial government funding.
“We have raised about $130,000,” Mr Orr said.
“We have applied to the Commonwealth Future Directions fund for $750,000 and to the NT Government for $650,000, with money hopefully coming from the sale of TIO and Sport and Rec funds.”
Mr Orr is confident of a funding announcement in May with a possible start to the construction phase of the project in September.
“This will be the most modern bowling green in Australia,” he said.
Major issues with disease and mould on the grass greens, with an annual upkeep of up to $100,000 a year, have forced the club to look at alternatives.
“We are the NT’s only traditional bowls club and we want to remain that way,” Mr Orr said.
The clubrooms were pre-Cyclone Tracy and it was important to make sure none of the history was lost, he said.
Mr Orr said the green light to move on the significant upgrade came about after the election of a new board 12 months ago.
“The board is determined to get the club up off its feet,” he said. “This idea has been sitting there for a long time.”
The cost of sealing of the club car park is also included in the $1.7 million.
Mr Orr believes the international-class venue could attract teams from around Australia as well as Asia.
“We have spoken to schools and aged people groups and they are actually more interested in the fact that the green will be covered,” he said.
“These groups can’t bowl during the day because it is too hot and there is also the risk of sunburn.”
NT Bowls chief executive Lee Farrell said the planned redevelopment was a massive step forward for the sport in the NT.
“It allows us to invite national players and hold national events here,” Mr Farrell said.
An Artists impression of the proposed new facility
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