New life for an old bowlo

Could a Camperdown Commons-style restaurant and gardens work at Five Dock?

Just about everyone in the inner west knows about the sad state of affairs at Tigers in Rozelle. In fact commuters along Victoria Road can only look up at the proud old club – a crumbling ruin increasingly resembling a bomb site – and wonder, “How could they let that happen?”

Well, toxic politics and complete planning paralysis can happen, and does… Now Canada Bay residents will be praying the same fate doesn’t befall Tigers Five Dock. The club’s doors closed late last year when Balmain Leagues Club went into liquidation, and their site on Barnstable Road in the middle of Five Dock Park is already starting to look pretty forlorn.

Expressions of interest will soon be called for the site, and the City of Canada Bay’s Mayor Angelo Tsirekas is calling on an enterprising local business or entrepreneurs to transform Tigers Five Dock into a thriving community hub.

The club closed in October 2018. “Since then, the loss has hit our community hard,” Mayor Tsirekas said. “From regular bowlers spending their morning on the green, to friends creating memories at the bar, there was something for everyone.”

Mayor Tsirekas suggests its closure could provide  “a silver lining” for Five Dock. As he sees it, “the location is ideal for a new thriving community hub, and if you have visited the Camperdown Commons or The Greens at North Sydney you can see the sort of transformation that can occur at these old clubs.”

“The space really opens the door for an imaginative business to come in and create something unique in our area. I want to see this site revitalised and reopened for our community and I’d also love to have the beautiful greens maintained for our bowlers in Five Dock,” he said.

Locals are likely to agree. Fortunately this site, unlike Tigers at Rozelle, is situated on Crown Land and is managed by the City of Canada Bay Council. There are sure to be differences of opinion over what should happen, but with a bit of political good will, a dash of entrepreneurial skill and just a  touch of common sense, a happy outcome is more than likely.