Late last month, the new roof was ‘officially’ opened at the Remuera Bowling Club, covering one of the club’s four greens.
It’s a fabulous facility. And with a six-figure price tag, showcases a much more financially realistic option for other clubs considering a roof, than the multi-million dollar indoor arena built with council largesse at Naenae.
It’s the third such facility in greater Auckland. New Lynn Bowling Club has enjoyed the benefits of a covered green for 2 years, and as a result is hosting the annual Bowls3Five televised evening tournament inaugurated last year. At the Pukekohe Cosmopolitan Club, an indoor lawn bowls green has been open for 5 years.
Speaking at the opening, President of the Auckland Bowls Centre, Jill Fraser, spoke enthusiastically about the new facility. “It’s a wonderful facility which will not only allow bowls to be played all year round at the Remuera Bowling Club, but provides an all-weather facility able to be used by bowlers throughout greater Auckland. It’s a reflection of where the Centre is determined to take bowls: getting more people playing more bowls more often.”
Bowls New Zealand Chief Executive Mark Cameron was equally effusive.
“It’s ironic that the opening tournament was played under cover on our first beautiful sunny day here in Auckland for three months,” quipped Mark. “But as out-of-towners know, we get a lot of rain here in Auckland, so it will be a valuable strategic addition to our facilities.”
The cover has had an elephantine gestation period. “The cover was first conceived at the 2017 AGM,” recalls Club President, Murray Lander, “when a team of Bill Johnson and Peter Bennett were asked to investigate the feasibility of a cover and report back with a recommendation.”
Unexpectedly, the council had little issue with the cover. “We engaged a resource consent expert, Suzanne Speedy, and she channelled the non-notifiable consent through council. The only permission we needed was from our neighbour – the Dilworth Primary School.”
“We got the consent and the okay from club members to move forward with the cover mid-2018 … subject to finance. We were lucky that Auckland Bowls and the Rawhiti Trust came to the party with the lions’ share of the funding, and as a result we were able to let the building contract to Shade Systems in December 2018. They looked after the building consent as well.”
The specifications for the cover are impressive.
The structure is 1443 square metres. It has a hot-dipped galvanised framework covered by a PVC Tensile Membrane. It’s guaranteed for 20 years.
But there’s also some nice touches within the musclework of the structure. Large ‘blinds’ are used to clad the four sides of the structure, some of which can be individually pulled up or down to break the prevailing wind or chill of the day. Air-conditioning units have also been installed which will be able to heat or cool the cavernous space.
The cover also sports a new ‘toy’ – the first electronic scoreboards at any club in New Zealand.
In recognition of the Rawhiti Trust’s contributions, the club inaugurated a new annual Fours Tournament on the opening day – the Rawhiti Silver Plate. After 6 hours of under cover bowls, three of the full house of 16 teams emerged with three wins. The Carlton Cornwall team of Bev Crowe, Clara Bowman, Ken McDermott and Grant Keats(skip) lifted the Plate on a countback of ends won.
Two lucky attendees also won a set of bowls, donated by Hunter Bowls, in the raffle on the day.
Shade Systems has provided an elegant, cost-effective solution for all-weather bowls. “I’m more than happy to talk to other clubs about the ins and outs,” says Remuera Bowling Club Project Manager, Bill Johnson. “Just call the club to get hold of me.”
by Rob Davis