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92 year-old bowls club calls it quits

Tags: Auckland Residential

Nearly a century since it was first founded, the Hillsboro Bowls Club is calling it quits as recreational club memberships fall out of favour.

Despite a relatively stable membership base, it has become financially unviable for the club to continue in its present form, says president Ian Drew.

However a chance meeting in the Auckland Club Four’s competition last year has given the club something new to look forward to.

“Last year Hillsboro faced off against the Onehunga Bowls Club in a finals competition which got us talking about the future, says Mr Drew.

“Our club has been experiencing financial difficulty for some time and a move to disband and join the Onehunga Bowls Club came to light as the best way forward.

“The two clubs together will form a new venture as the Royal Oak Bowls Club,” he says

The existing site of the Hillsboro Bowls Club, located at 16 Hillsborough Road will be sold by tender closing August 23.

“We’re in a fortunate position to own the land beneath the club with the proceeds of sale intended for use developing new club facilities in Onehunga,” says Mr Drew.

The property which encompasses four titles and spans some 7,925 square metres is jointly offered for sale by Jan Honey of Bayleys One Tree Hill and Barry Greer from Barfoot and Thompson Onehunga.

“The site has huge development potential with three separate entrances, relatively level grounds and an excellent location which borders Hillsborough, Royal Oak and Three Kings,” says Jan Honey.

The existing clubhouse which measures some 661 square metres is included in the sale, along with smaller outbuildings and a selection of chattels.

“Housing and the availability of land for development are ongoing issues in Auckland, with both the Auckland Council and central Government espousing the need for intensification in urban areas.”

"We envisage a property developer will apply to have the property rezoned to allow multiple dwellings given the attractiveness of the location and the nearby amenities," Jan Honey says.

“The property is in prime location, situated half-way between Auckland central city and both the international and domestic airports.

“Zoned for Onehunga High, Royal Oak Intermediate, Mt Roskill Intermediate and Three Kings School, there’s excellent connection to motorways and the burgeoning community enjoys access to Monte Cecilia and Cornwall Parks as well as the recently completed Onehunga Beach esplanade.

Founded in 1925, the Hillsboro Bowls club has been considered one of the region’s largest clubs, a consideration Mr Drew thinks will lead to further clubs reassessing their options.

“Ten years ago Auckland had close to 60 bowls club across the region, now with attendance slowly declining, the number is closer to 40.

“We have faced challenges attracting patrons to the club and maintaining amenities such as the greens, bar and gaming machines have become too difficult, leading us to offer the property for sale.

Mr Drew has a warning for clubs seeking short-term solutions to long-term financial trouble.

“Look for sustainable strategies,” he advises.

“Recreational clubs and other organisations must realise that there’s a persistent trend away from club membership and those without significant assets to leverage will have to look for alternative funding sooner rather than later.”

Arrangements for the planned Royal Oak Bowls Club are already taking shape as the incorporated club will occupy the site presently owned by the Onehunga - with future development including underground carparking facilities which will make way for an artificial bowling green and two existing natural greens.

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