Catherine Hill Bay bowlo set to be demolished but long-term use of the club’s site remains unclear

VIEWS: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club.Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club will be given a“last hurrah” on Saturdaybefore being demolished, but the long-term use of the coastal site remains uncleardespite plans for a new multi-use communityfacility.
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The club –built by locals and opened in 1954 – wasclosed by Lake Macquarie council in December because of asbestoscontamination. It wasslated for demolition this month.

The club had faced various financial battles over the years and closed brieflybefore being leased off council by community membersin 2012.

Up until itsclosure in December, ithad mainly been run by volunteerswhofocusedon social bowls, raffles and hostingevents, including weddings.

Now the picturesque club and its storied history is set to have one last community interactionon Saturday at ‘Farewell Catho Bowlo’.

‘Last hurrah’ for picturesque coastal bowling club WHAT A SPOT: Bowlers at the picturesque club in 2006. The Catherine Hill Bay Men’s Bowling Club still exists and plays out of Belmont.

AS IT STANDS: The now closed Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club. The building is set to be demolished in coming months and the site returned to natural parkland. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HISTORY: Nancy Smyth with a picture of local WW1 soldiers which was salvaged from the club. The picture will be donated to an RSL. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

WHAT A SPOT: The club in 2006.

VINTAGE: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in use in the mid-1950s.

BANDING TOGETHER: Life-long friends Sybil Mascord and Barb Martin, both of Catherine Hill Bay, in 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BANDING TOGETHER: Club secretary manager Lyn Hall prepares for the 2013 fundraiser for the RFS, following severe bush fires.

BANDING TOGTHER: A donations box on the bar in 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DESTRUCTION: Lyn Hall in scorched bush at the back of the club for a story about a fundraiser for local firefighters in 2013. Picture: Peter Stoop

STANDING TALL: Lyn Hall at the club in 2013 when it was struggling to stay open. Picture: Peter Stoop

STANDING TALL: Lyn Hall at the club in 2013 when it was struggling to stay open. Picture: Peter Stoop

TROUBLE: Lyn Hall with concerned members outside Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in 2011 when the club planned to close its doors. Picture: Phil Hearne

TROUBLE: Lyn Hall with concerned members outside Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in 2011 when the club planned to close its doors. Picture: Phil Hearne

RELIEF: The club are a Land and Environment court decision not to go ahead with a residential development in 2009.

RELIEF: The club are a Land and Environment court decision not to go ahead with a residential development in 2009.

RALLY: Debate over a resort development in 2002. Foreground Sybil Mascord. Picture: Brock Perks

CONCERNED: Fighting a rate rise in 2002 – Kate Northwood, 93, and Dorrie Trowbridge, 90, at the club. Both were life members who joined the club in the mid-1950 s. Picture: Darren Pateman

CONCERNED: Fighting a rate rise in 2002 – Kate Northwood, 93, and Dorrie Trowbridge, 90, at the club. Both were life members who joined the club in the mid-1950 s. Picture: Darren Pateman

VINTAGE: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in use in the mid-1950s.

TweetFacebookHerald alsoreported in June ofMr Nicholson’s idea to relocate Catho pub to the bowling club site.

Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association president Sue Whyte said any new “integrated multi-usefacility”must“offer everything that we had before plus more” in order to cater for the suburb’spopulation boom.

“The population of Catherine Hill Bay is set to rise within the next 15 years by 1300 per cent,” she said.

AS IT STANDS: The now closed Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“It’s an enormous amount of people and we have to have the facilities to cater for them.”

She said the CHBPA was“currently writing to council to try and get someclarity” as there had been a bit of conjecture about whether the surf club would be upgraded to include new community space, oranew facility built on the bowling club site.

“The facilities at the northern end have to be built before the surf club,” shesaid.

“The new surf club is going to have to be moved back because it is in a hazard zone, but it is not falling into the sea in the next 15 years.

“We’d like to have playing areas, change rooms, desperately need toilets around graveyard beach, andwant to have a bowling green and other activities.”

Ms Smyth said the closed club was “sadly missed” by locals who enjoyed Sundays either on, or by the green.

“We don’t have a community facility anymore,” she said.

“Council seem pretty sincere about their hope to develop it with the sports field and bowling green.

“Hopefully that’s what is going to happen.”