Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:54): I rise to congratulate the Mount Gambier Bowls Club on the opening of their covered bowling rink B, with the assistance of the state government to the tune of $100,000. I want to also thank the minister for sport and infrastructure, Minister Wingard, who came down and officially opened that project on Saturday. Although the sun was out and it was a very pleasant 21° or 22° down there, that is not the normal weather during winter in Mount Gambier. This facility will go a long way to providing not only enjoyment but an environment that is suitable for those who participate and enjoy lawn bowls in my electorate.
I also want to thank Minister Wingard for working with me and the bowling club to make sure that funding was secured past a couple of deadlines that had expired. Through no fault of the bowling club's efforts, delays with planning, delays with council and delays with heritage saw that project two years beyond the point where it was meant to be complete, and that created some nervousness amongst the proponents of the project. It was really pleasing that every time I went and saw the minister, he reassured me that the Treasurer, who may have a bit of a reputation for clawing back any unspent money at the first opportunity, would not do that and that those funds were secure for that club.
I guess the really pleasing thing is to see the project come to fruition. All the concerns that people had, that it would not tie in with the heritage of the area, that it would be an eyesore, that it would be out of place, really have not come anywhere close to being the truth. It is a fantastic design, a fantastic development and it is going to lead to much more comfortable conditions for those who undertake bowling at the Mount Gambier Bowls Club, which, coincidentally, is the oldest regional bowling club in South Australia, having been established in 1904.
It is pleasing to see that a club that is steeped in history is so progressive in its thinking and its move forward. This would not have happened without probably three key contributors, the first being Peter Clark. Peter is one of those people who, if he sets his mind to it, you might as well get out of the way early because he is going to achieve what he needs to achieve one way or the other. I had a lot of conversations with Peter around the design and development of this project.
Ian Von Stanke, the president, showed great leadership and strong determination, making sure that 'no' was not an answer that was going to be taken lightly. Probably highest on the congratulations list is Bob Cranwell. Bob made a $200,000 contribution to this project because it had been floated for so long and it was so desperately needed. This will be the flagship for every other bowling green in our area to see the example and see what is possible.
Another really pleasing thing about that club and the character and the people who are involved in the club is a local-first attitude. There were plenty of times when they were told that this work could only be done by people outside our region because it had never been done before. But this club and the committee stuck strong and employed locals.
What an amazing result for local tradesmen to prove that they can do just as well if not better than those coming from elsewhere. So a great thankyou goes to Thomson Bilt and Leon Thomson—it is a magnificent structure; Ryan and Alana Creek and Stuckey Electrical for the lighting and power; Deanne Carmody and Decor House for the blinds; and Heynric Zaadstra for the plumbing. A big congratulations to all those local tradesmen. You have done our community proud and thank you for your efforts. There will be plenty of people thanking them as the winter months come in.