Muswellbrook Shire Council approves the demolition of Bowman Park shed

IN the interest of public safety, the Bowman Park amenity building will be demolished as soon as possible.

When in active use by Muswellbrook District Junior Rugby League Football Club (MDJRLFC), the shed was a place of sporting memories.

But, since the club’s move to Olympic Park, their former home has regularly attracted vandalism and anti-social behaviour, with repeated damage compromising the building’s structure.

Apart from the storage of cherished club memorabilia, the shed no longer had any other practical use.

Council provided the club with alternate storage, and earlier this year, former and current members enjoyed a barbecue lunch to remember the park’s glory days one last time before the items were relocated.

Council consulted MDJRLFC about the potential demolition.

Club representatives acknowledged the state of the building but were upset about the proposal, saying it represented a significant piece of their history.

However, the park’s neighbours were concerned about regular loitering activity in the area.

At one particular incident on Saturday, February 25, police observed children had accessed the open section of the building and set fire to objects, before NSW Fire and Rescue extinguished the blaze.

Since then, council cleared the perimeter of hazards and established fencing to discourage the public from entering the site.

Council’s building works coordinator inspected and confirmed movement in the building had placed stress on the walls and compromised its structural integrity.

While there was no denying the significance of the building to MDJRLFC’s history, the weight of its current state was beginning to show.

Council’s report said its condition provided no public benefit, was a cost to council, and a public hazard to the neighbours and community.

Additional reasons for its demolition included the lack of proper use, its poor condition, and being a place of repeated vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Hunter Valley Local Area Command representatives agreed with this recommendation, adding if it was instead repaired it would continue to sustain further vandalism.

Demolition and clean-up is estimated at $15,000 to be funded from the Recreation Reserve.