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1 August, 2020

Innisfail Bowls Club Saved

Cassowary Coast Regional Council with assistance from Member for Hill Shane Knuth has secured $1.2 million from the State Government to undertake the Johnstone River stabilisation project adjacent to the Innisfail Bowls Club.

Member for Hill, Shgane Knuth, Innisfail Bowls Club president Alf Strano, providore Steve Howe, secretary Gordon Goes, Mayor Mark Nolan and (in front) vice president Diana O’Brien.

The project will stabilise an eroding section of the riverbank through the construction of an 85 metre long mass block wall.

Repairs to the riverbank will be jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA)

Mayor Mark Nolan said the issue was first raised in 2004 and has progressively gotten worse over the last 16 years.

“Council has taken the initiative and worked with the Innisfail Bowls Club, Mr Knuth, the State Government and the Commonwealth to secure funding for this important project,’ Cr Nolan said.

“The Innisfail Bowls Club plays an important role in providing recreational activities to the Innisfail community. It also provides a meeting place for locals and visitors to come together and enjoy the Innisfail riverfront.”

The club is ‘not for profit’ and supports a number of charities and other community groups within the Innisfail community. The club relies on volunteers and donations from local businesses.  

Cr Nolan said ongoing instability from the Johnstone River located adjacent to the bowls club had resulted in significant damage to the club’s structures and amenities.  

“If this problem is not addressed there is a potential for further instability and damage, with the ultimate risk of the site and associated infrastructure slipping into the Johnstone River,” he said.

Mr Knuth said sourcing funding had been a long drawn out process and he was pleased to be able to work with council and the bowls club in assisting to help secure funding.

He said after more than 18 months of lobbying with both groups he was ecstatic that the bowls club had received the funding to reinforce the river’s wall.

“It is great news that by working together we were are able to help keep this vital club going,” Mr Knuth said.

“The Innisfail Bowls Club committee has been very passionate from the beginning as it provides an important service recreationally, socially and a venue for community functions.

“They are located in one of the most prime spots to hold functions and being forced to move would have been devastating.”

Innisfail Bowls Club president Alf Strano said the bowls club would celebrate its centenary in 2023 and had a number of events planned, all of which can now progress in the knowledge that there is funding in place to fix the riverbank erosion issue.

“Once the project is complete, the club will be in a position to expand and modernise its facilities, including applying for funding for a shade structure so we can be an all-weather facility,” Mr Strano said.

Council is in the process of obtaining the relevant permits and tenders will be released in the coming weeks with construction expected to be completed by June 2021.

Cr Nolan said he would like to thank the State Government and Mr Knuth for allocating the funding for the project and he looked forward to the Innisfail Bowls Club playing an important role in the Cassowary Coast community for another 100 years and beyond.

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