Bowls WA Strategic Facilities Plan

Bowling (lawn bowling) clubs are currently faced with a number of issues relating to the provision of sporting infrastructure and facilities. Escalating construction and maintenance costs for club facilities in recent years poses financial problems for a number of clubs. The Strategic Facilities Plan aims to provide information to assist clubs in understanding, planning and meeting their facility needs.

Specifically, the plan aims to provide clubs with:

  • A Bowls WA policy for the strategic development of facilities.
  • An action plan for clubs for the development of club facilities.
  • A clear and transparent needs assessment criteria for Bowls WA to apply to club requests for funding support from the Department of Sport and Recreation’s Community Sporting Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF)
  • A framework to help Bowls WA work with clubs to improve their future
  • An understanding of what different types of clubs are ‘sustainable’.

The Strategic Facilities Plan is to ensure that the provision of bowls facilities is carried out in a manner that is sustainable and in the best interest of the sport. The Department of Sport and Recreation receives numerous requests for the funding of facilities as part of their CSRFF grants program for all types of sporting infrastructure. As part of the CSRFF process Bowls WA and local governments advise the Department of Sport and Recreation on the prioritisation and assessment based on the needs of each club in relation to their application for funding. The primary focus of the Strategic Facilities Plan is to ensure a simple and transparent process for all involved whereby funding for bowls facilities is supported and recommended by Bowls WA on a needs basis. These needs will be assessed on a number of factors including the sustainability of the club, current facilities and the growth potential of the club.

There are currently 217 bowling clubs in Western Australia affiliated with Bowls WA. Bowls WA is the state sporting association responsible for advancing, promoting and controlling of the sport of bowls in WA. There are approximately 20,000 registered bowls players in WA, and estimates indicate there is almost the same number of unregistered social players. Bowls WA and the state’s clubs are currently in the process of creating a tiered registration of community/corporate players to capture the true participation numbers.

Bowls Australia is the national sporting body responsible for promoting, standardising and administering bowls in Australia. Bowls Australia is currently preparing a resources kit to outline the standard minimum requirement for synthetic surfaces. Playing greens are constructed in accordance with the Laws of the Sport of Bowls with club facilities constructed as per normal building regulations. 

In addition to the financial challenges facing bowling clubs, there is a growing need for clubs and members to be aware of the trends and demographic changes in WA. A large proportion of new bowling clubs are co-located with other sporting and community groups in multi-use facilities. This trend is supported by local government authorities as a way of increasing facility use, reducing the duplication of infrastructure and creating financially sustainable clubs. Over the past 20 years there has been a decrease in the number of capitated bowlers from 31,620 in 1980 to 19,757 in 2009 (37.5%). Meanwhile there has been a considerable increase in the number of social and corporate players. Some of these were captured in the “Get on the Green” program, with 4,744 additional registered players in 2009, and it is estimated that there are at least another 15,000 players who are not captured on the Bowls WA database.

The Bowls WA Strategic Plan currently being developed seeks to leverage these trends to increase the number of capitated bowlers and encourage more people to play bowls competitively. This is also supported by the recently completed Bowls WA High Performance Plan and the Bowls WA Marketing Plan.

The Strategic Facilities Plan was conducted in five (5) stages with a supporting document for each, these stages are:

  1. Scoping Report
  2. Needs Assessment
  3. Facility Plan
  4. Policy Development
  5. Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan is the summary document for the Strategic Facilities Plan and links the vision and objectives to the individual actions, roles and responsibilities require its successful implementation.