A Beyonce-inspired social media campaign to save a Melbourne lawn bowls club is facing a counter-campaign from local netballers, who have made their own video to support plans for a sports complex.
The Chadstone Bowls Club video All The Bowling Ladies, based on the Beyonce hit Single Ladies, was produced to fight a proposal to redevelop the bowling club site.
Stonnington council is proposing to demolish the club to make way for a netball and basketball stadium, but the bowlers’ video has helped them attract thousands of supporters.
Netballers say they only have two courts for thousands of registered players in the area. (ABC News: Tom Gelai)
The Build Stonnington Stadium Group has now produced its own video, appealing for community support for a new stadium, including netball and basketball courts.
The campaigns have sparked a wider debate about support and facilities for women’s sport in the area, in Melbourne’s south-east.
“Netball and basketball are two of the most played sports in Australia, and netball the most played female sport in Australia in terms of team sports,” Build Stonnington Stadium Group spokeswoman Kate Campbell said.
“It is time that we fund girls’ sport in Stonnington.”
Prahran Netball Association said there were 4,000 registered netball and basketball players in the Stonnington council area and yet they were provided with just two courts, one of which was undersized.
The council is doing a feasibility study into three sites to find a new home for the netball and basketball players, including the Percy Treyvaud Reserve, the home of the Chadstone Bowls Club.
Sporting facilities for women in short supply, mayor says
The issue has divided the community, with one Stonnington councillor unsuccessfully attempting to stop the feasibility study at a meeting last week.
A petition with more than 1,500 signatures supporting the bowls club was tabled at the council last week.
Stonnington Mayor Jami Klisaris said the bowls club had a lot of public sympathy, but the council had to cater to other needs as well.
“The bowls club have put up an incredible campaign but of course we know there is the other side,” Cr Klisaris said.
She said the 26 ovals in the Stonnington area were used almost exclusively for football, cricket and rugby.
The council is looking at three sites to find new space for netball and basketball players. (ABC News: Tom Gelai)
“About 90 per cent of our oval usage is by men and boys sport,” Cr Klisaris said.
“There is a gross underrepresentation for female sporting facilities in Stonnington.
“Netballers shorten their games and increase the size of their teams just to make sure more women and girls get a turn.”
Prahran Netball Club chair Margaret Connellan said the lack of facilities was “a kick in the guts for women’s sport”.
Ms Connellan said there was room for both four indoor courts and bowling greens at Percy Treyvaud Reserve.
Cr Klisaris said there was no intention to shut down the bowls club and that it could be retained at its present site, along with a stadium.