A PLEDGE made to members of the now-extinct Newstead Bowling will begin to be fulfilled in the coming months with around $3m in upgrades planned for the Country Club at Bloomfield.
First cab off the rank will be renovating the existing green which has been out of play since COVID-19's first lockdown in NSW back in March 2020.
Following that, the Orange Ex-Services' Club, which owns the Country Club, plans to construct a second synthetic green which will be covered, to the south of the existing green.
That work will hopefully coincide with a refurbishment of the clubhouse which contains a bar and kitchen.
Ex-Services acting chief executive officer Graham Gentles, who is also the president of the club, said the development of the Country Club site was part of a memorandum of understanding with members of Newstead Bowling Club after it merged with the Ex-Services' Club about three years ago.
Under that deal, the Ex-services' Club agreed to provide the members with a like-facility and former Newstead member and now Country Club ladies bowls president Trish Wilson was delighted with the plan.
"It will be nice to have something we can call our own," Mrs Wilson said explaining bowlers had been conducting their competition at Orange City Bowling Club since the Newstead premises was sold.
Preliminary work as already started on refurbishing the existing bowling green, which was being reshaped back to a 36m x 36m square. This will enable play in both directions as per championship rules.
Mr Gentles said it was hoped work would be finished by late January or February to coincide with the beginning of the bowls pennants season.
That's when the Ex-Services' Club also plans to reopen the Country Club clubhouse for food and beverage service.
In the meantime, the parent club is working towards submitting a development application for the second green and clubhouse renovation.
Mr Gentles explained that the heritage nature of the Bloomfield site made it difficult to predict when that work could begin but was hoping it would be around mid 2022.
"The second DA to modify the clubhouse is all reliant on a heritage study and Orange City Council approval,'" he said. To help facilitate the process, the Orange Ex-Services Club has engaged Orange heritage specialist Andrew Crump to assist the DA.
While there are none on site, Mr Gentles said the clubhouse was licensed for poker machines and the parent club would look at reinstating them in the future.
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