THE fight to save Scully Park from demolition has suffered a bitter blow after Wests League Club’s legal team torpedoed moves to allow the issue to go to a member vote.
In a shock development, Wests’ lawyers yesterday scuppered a bid by the Save Our Scully Alliance to use the club’s own constitution to trigger a members’ general meeting.
The meeting would have compelled the board to let members decide the fate of the $12 million motel and function room development proposed for the iconic ground.
Wests CEO Rod Laing claimed the petition calling for a general meeting – signed by 180 members – was invalid because under the club’s constitution, members did not legally have the power to direct the board on how to exercise its powers.
Mr Laing said to hold a general meeting of members on the issue would have been manifestly unfair.
“What this would have done is gag everyone except the small per cent of club members who have made it clear they don’t support the proposal, and frankly, that would have been unfair,” Mr Laing said.
“The future of Scully is a subject everyone should be given the opportunity to have a say in, not just club members and not just people who have been against the proposal from the start.”
He said it was important the proposal be scrutinised through the proper channels.
“It should be reviewed by independent planners, put on public exhibition and decided by the council and the Joint Regional Planning Panel,” he said.
“The process where plans are lodged with an independent ref, everyone with an interest gets to review them and comment, then a decision is made on the merits, is the fairest one.
“The plans have been lodged with council and a full public consultation process will follow, and that will allow everyone, not just club members, to have their say.”
But Save Our Scully Alliance convener Stephen Young said the fairest system would be to allow members to have their say.
“If the club has the view ‘let the ref make the call’, then surely the way forward is for the club to let its members, at a general meeting, consider and make the call by voting on the future use of such significant core club property,” Mr Young said.
“The Save Our Scully Alliance request for a general meeting is for the consideration of a motion where, if passed, the club members’ approval of the motel proposal would first be required.
“Any future consideration of the proposal by Tamworth Regional Council or the Joint Regional Planning Panel should only come after the club members have properly considered the proposal at a general meeting.”
He demanded the club’s board to convene the general meeting as requested.
Critics of the proposed development have accused the club of “whitewashing history”, saying it would rob Tamworth of a top-class sporting ground and valuable green space.
But the club’s board has vowed to redevelop Scully Park No. 2 into an even better facility.
The club is in negotiations with Tamworth Regional Council to purchase or lease Scully No. 2.