- Posted by IanMuttonAdmin
- On December 7, 2022
- waverton bowling club
What is to become of the land once occupied by the Waverton Bowling Club – the Waverton Bowling Green?
- The state Minister administering the Waverton Bowling Green ruled against a claim made by the Aboriginal Land Council (ALC).
- The ALC appealed the Minister’s decision to the Land and Environment Court.
- The Court sided with the ALC.
- The state government decided not to appeal this decision.
- It looks like the land will be sold and re-zoned.
- Parks everywhere are now at risk
In 1943, the land that became known Waverton Park was vested in the Crown and dedicated for public recreation. A part of Waverton Park was made over and became the Waverton Bowling Club – the Waverton Bowling Green.
In 1967, the Waverton Bowling Green was leased to Waverton Bowling and Recreation Club and later to the North Sydney Club.
In 2009, the Waverton Bowling Green was declared Crown Land and reserved for Community and Sporting Club Facilities.
In 2019 the North Sydney Club was put into administration.
North Sydney Council pushed the State Government to incorporate the Waverton Bowling Green into Waverton Park – the State Government dithered.
As an interim measure, North Sydney Council pressed the State Government for a lease; was offered and accepted a licence in the belief that it was preserving the option for the land to be incorporated into Waverton Park.
Now to the Land and Environment case – two questions fell for determination by the court
Was the Waverton Bowling Green:
- lawfully used or occupied and
- needed, or likely to be needed, for an essential public purpose?
The Minister, whose decision was being appealed by the Aboriginal Land Council, argued that North Sydney Council:
- was, by virtue of the licence, the lawful occupier of the Bowling Green; and
- needed (or likely to be needed) the Waverton Bowling Green to increase the amount of open space available for public recreation which was an essential public purpose.
The court ruled against the Minister finding that the:
- the licence gave a limited right to occupy and that did not meet the lawful occupier test and
- requirement that the Waverton Bowling Green was needed for an essential purpose amounted to a sole need /purpose test – here we had:
- North Sydney Council wanting the Bowling Green for open green space and
- the State Government actively looking for other users – e.g. Felicity Wilson introduced Knox Rugby Club as a possible acquirer.
Hard to accept the court’s decision that:
- a licence for a specific purpose does not count as a licence to lawfully occupy
- North Sydney’s need for more open green space is defeated by the dithering of the State Government – especially since North Sydney is short of green space compared to all metropolitan Council areas, with 550 people per hectare compared to Ku-ring-gai’s 84, Willoughby’s 216 and Mosman’s 170.
When the State Government talks about its commitment to open green space just think about its lack of commitment to protecting the Waverton Bowling Green.
The State Government has decided not to appeal the decision.
What next? Expect an application to re-zone the land for development.
Parks everywhere are at risk of being lost to the broader community.
The court ordered that the Waverton Bowling Green be transferred to Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council – the judgement is at http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWLEC/2022/130.html