KILMORE Bowls Club’s long-term future at Hudson Park is in doubt after Mitchell Shire Council approved long-term master plans showing a civic plaza and public lawns in place of the club.
The club, which has been located at Hudson Park for more than 100 years, renewed its lease at the site for nine years in 2018, but its future beyond the end of the lease is unclear.
Club treasurer Will Hanna said the club preferred to stay at Hudson Park, but accepted it would have to move if council did not renew its lease.
“Over the last few years we’ve been talking to council about trying to do an extension and update the clubhouse, and they keep telling us not to do it because they’re going to relocate us, but they have nowhere to relocate us to at the moment,” he said.
“They’ve suggested that there’s a development that’s going to happen in Butlers Road and they’re going to have a sporting precinct out there, but that’s been talked about for longer than they’ve spoken to us about moving.
“Our synthetic bowling green has been down for 16 years and we provided council with a report recently saying we need to look at replacing that green at a very significant cost. If we’re going to do that to keep the green playable, then we need some reassurances of being able to stay where we are for longer than what they’re suggesting.”
Other long-term plans for the park include a new toilet block, expanded car park, an Aboriginal ceremony space on the eastern side of Kilmore Creek, and connections to a Kilmore Creek trail.
The council endorsed master plans for Hudson Park and Kilmore Creek at its March meeting.
The plan was developed after council consulted with park user groups including Taungurung Land and Waters Council, Kilmore Bowls Club, Kilmore and District Residents and Ratepayers Association, Kilmore Miniature Railway, Kilmore Wallan RSL and First Kilmore Scouts.
Cr Rob Eldridge described the Hudson Park master plan as ‘an important stepping stone for the redevelopment of Kilmore’.
“Hudson Park is a very special place in the centre of Kilmore and not many towns have a town square like this. It’s an important step in the orderly planning of the future for the park,” he said.
Cr Louise Bannister said the Kilmore Creek master plan was ‘a great document’.
“As a community member of Kilmore I am really looking forward to seeing this master plan eventuate,” she said.
“It’s an area of Kilmore that isn’t utilised as much as it could be. This master plan really utilises that area and makes it a space that will improve the liveability of residents in Kilmore and those visiting, as well as improving the landscape of Kilmore to the potential that is has.”
Community consultation for the master plan was undertaken by council in 2019. People can find more information on the master plans at engagingmitchellshire.com.