Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer opens Boomerang Park croquet and petanque facilities

Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer cut the ribbon on the Boomerang Park croquet facilities on Wednesday.

About 30 residents enjoyed the opportunity to try it out even if they are a little reluctant to be on a club committee to give it ongoing attention.

“There was a good roll up yesterday which was great to see,” Cr Palmer said.

“We had members from the Maitland club come and show us some of the finer points of the game.”

An inaugural annual general meeting was called after the ribbon cutting and free play. But no one stepped forward to actually form the committee.

Cr Palmer said he had been there earlier when the name Raymond Terrace Croquet and Social Club was settled upon. Since he had to leave for another appointment he was unsure why a committee was unable to be formed.

"Maybe they were a little shy in coming forward,” he said.

“I’ve got no doubt it will be well used, however, with the Senior Citizens and the Men’s Shed being only next door.” 

Cr Giacomo Arnott had expressed concern in February that the facility had been built with no club in sight to run it.

Having attended Wednesday’s opening he said it was an “odd situation” but he “remained hopeful”.

“The council had said prior to Wednesday that they would form a committee at the event but no one came forward,” Cr Arnott said.

“The advice was that whoever became president would be responsible for handling bookings. It’s disappointing there isn’t a committee yet but the facility is there now, there’s no sense taking it away, I’m sure it will get used.” 

The council’s community and recreation coordinator Brock Lamont said hope had not been lost as he was hopeful key roles could still be filled.

“Council anticipated that it might be difficult to form a committee on the day, as often people don’t like to take on responsibility without understanding the full scope of a role, but we received interest from several people since the launch event who would like to find out more,” he said. 

“There are also several community members who are interested in being involved in the steering committee, but were not able to attend yesterday’s launch event.”

Mr Lamont said council wished to play a nurturing, supportive role.

“From here, council will set out the responsibilities of the steering committee and communicate with interested parties to establish a committee,” he said. 

“To ensure the ongoing use, council will set fees and charges for the committee to remain financially sustainable, as well as playing times, keying systems, signage and access for those who want to use the equipment outside playing times.”

The $300,000 facility is equipped to host not only croquet but boccie and lawn bowls. 

Cr Palmer did commend the new president of the re-named Boomerang Park Community Group, Jean-Paul Boudan, on his plans to get school children playing petanque. Otherwise known as bocce.

Boomerang Park has undergone a somewhat of a transformation as instigated by the previous mayor Bruce MacKenzie, bringing action to an under-utilised space.

Being the driver of the croquet court Cr MacKenzie expressed concern the croquet clubhouse is too small.