Save the East Brisbane bowlo. Support Backbone. No towers in Mowbray Park.

Save the East Brisbane bowlo. Support Backbone. No towers in Mowbray Park. Main Image

23 October 2021

Brisbane residents want more community facilities, not fewer.

But the LNP-controlled Brisbane City Council is planning on bulldozing one of the few community facilities in our electorate - the former East Brisbane Bowls Club. 

The building has been the home of youth arts organisation Backbone since 2018, and its members are worried about the demolition.

More broadly, it is concerning that LNP Council wants to demolish the buildings because they have form for wanting to put up more towers in the area. In recent years, residents defeated an LNP Council plan to allow 12-storey towers to be built next door at the croquet club.

Sneaky LNP-led Council changed the feedback summary

Residents have told the LNP-controlled Brisbane City Council they want the former East Brisbane Bowls Club building to be upgraded, but the LNP Council wants to demolish it instead.

The Schrinner administration at Brisbane City Council cannot be trusted on this issue. Right to Information documents show that they have published misleading information about residents' feedback regarding the building.

After community engagement, the LNP-led Council was given a document summarising residents' views. The summary included "upgrade the bowls club site for community use – underutilised and unattractive".

But when the LNP Council administration published a document referring to the feedback, they removed the reference to residents wanting the building to be upgraded, and instead summarised it as "bowls club site underused and unattractive".

After altering community feedback to suit their own agenda, how does the Schrinner-led Council expect locals to trust that they won't ultimately allow development on the site in the future -- just like they wanted to do at the croquet club next door?

LNP-led Council's response to my open letter 

I sent an open letter to the Lord Mayor, the LNP's Adrian Schrinner, in August.

I did not receive a substantive response for a month and a half, and when it came, it wasn't from Lord Mayor Schrinner, but from one of his fellow LNP Councillors.

In my letter I had set out the community's views as I understood them, and had made clear my view that the LNP-led Council needs to stop stripping our community of valuable facilities that locals can use.

Having listened to our community, I asked that Lord Mayor Schrinner:

1. Publish:

a. information about the manner in which the community consultation was conducted;

b. all results of any consultation;

c. any considerations that informed the development of the Council's draft concept plan.

2. Allow Backbone more extensive use of the existing bowling greens, so they can better activate the space and increase the attractiveness of the space for community functions.

3. Work cooperatively with locals and Backbone to develop a plan to address concerns about the general aesthetics of the grounds.

4. Reconsider plans to remove Backbone, or to demolish this community facility.

5. Commit to ensuring that residents have the benefit of more publicly-owned, publicly-accessible community facilities, not fewer.

Council's response did not directly respond to my requests. Tellingly, the response says Council has "no intention" of allowing development on the site. These are weasel words that fall well short of a guarantee!

What do we know about the LNP Council's track record?

So, as locals we know that:

  • Council is selling off land resumed for the widening of Lytton Rd, near Laidlaw Rd. 
  • Council has previously tried to allow residential towers on Mowbray Park
  • Council is using weasel words about not having an "intention" to allow the bowlo land to be developed, instead of giving a guarantee; and
  • Council altered the sense and meaning of the community feedback, to represent community desire for the site to be upgraded as community appetite for its demolition.

Looking at Council's track record, I'm far from reassured.

Can we really trust Council with Mowbray Park?

I don't.

Regardless, I don't think we want to see the bulldozers at Backbone.

If you agree, I need the help of our great community to spread the word that Council looks committed to demolishing a precious community facility, and forcing the removal of the youth arts group that uses it.

If you're concerned about this issue, I would really appreciate it if you would sign my petition - just scroll down. 

Getting involved

In July locals held a rally to call for the building to be saved, and for Backbone to be allowed to stay. I attended that rally along with other supporters including Matthew Campbell and Cr Kara Cook. There has also been significant online activism in support of this issue, including through the Stop the Demolition Facebook group.

Sign the petition

  • This petition calls for:
  • retaining the former East Brisbane bowls club building at Mowbray Park;
  • refraining from evicting Backbone from that building; and
  • a guarantee of no high-rise development on the East Brisbane bowlo site.
The crowd opposes the demolition

The crowd opposes the demolition

With Cr Kara Cook at the rally

With Cr Kara Cook at the rally

Terri speaking at the rally

Terri speaking at the rally