THE Mount Gambier Bowls Club’s proposed canopy remains at a crossroads with the latest design for the structure failing to gain approval.
City Council has flagged consulting with an experience architect to bring the stalled project to fruition following months of failed negotiations, with a month remaining on a State Government funding pledge before it expires.
If approved at next week’s council meeting, chief executive officer Andrew Meddle will negotiate a contract with an architect up to the value of $20,000 to come up with the architectural drawings.
Mount Gambier Bowls Club president Ian Von Stanke believed the recommendation was sensible, however feared the cost of the design would ultimately exceed the club’s budget.
“In the long run, it has to satisfy all parties and we do not mind what they come up with as long as it fits within the budget,” Mr Von Stanke said.
“You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
He admitted the design stage of the process had been frustrating.
“The barbecue shed behind our club is 50 metres long and made out of Colorbond steel, similar to the structure that we have failed to get approved,” he said.
At Tuesday night’s operational standing committee meeting, councillor Christian Greco shared the frustrations of the club.
“We were at a stage a while ago and it seems we have not moved very far,” Cr Greco said.
“The longer this has gone on, the more money it’s going to cost them to do it and everyone is wondering where that money will come from.”
Mr Meddle said the delays stemmed from two sides having opposing views.
“The bowls club want a certain type of structure at a certain cost and the heritage architect wants a good quality design that protects the heritage area, which is likely to be more expensive,” he said.
“It is our role as an honest broker to come up with a solution that is acceptable for the bowls club, but also acceptable to the wider community from a design perspective.”
Mr Meddle said from his discussions with the heritage architect, it is possible to come up with a design that will suit both parties within the cost.
He said one of the main issues is in relation to the club’s desire to be able to enclose the structure with electronic blinds, which does not with the heritage requirements.
“If you are going to put cafe blinds of some sort on the side then I get the feeling they will permanently be down,” Mr Meddle said.
“But I have a feeling the bowls club is not going to budge on that and neither is the heritage architect.”
Mr Von Stanke said there would be no point building the structure if it did not include blinds.
“They are electric and you only bring them down when it’s really foul weather from one direction, like we experience in Mount Gambier often,” he said.
“They will not be down all the time – why would you spend the money on blinds that go up and down if you had them down all the time.”
A number of proposed canopies have already been rejected due to issues of cost and elements of the design not fitting in with local heritage requirements.
Mr Von Stanke said the project needed to get progressed to the next stage.
“There is a timeline on the State Government funding that ends in September and our other major funding partner is getting itchy feet,” he said.
“Time is ticking.”