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Dons' Threat to Quit Windy Hill

Essendon is threatening to leave Windy Hill if it cannot relocate the various other tenants of the ground and realise plans for a major upgrade.
Windy Hill
The Dons have shared the Essendon Recreation Reserve with the Essendon cricket, bowls and croquet clubs since 1922 but chief executive Ian Robson has told the Moonee Valley City Council that unless the cricket and bowls clubs vacate the site, it will have to consider several informal offers of freehold land from other municipalities.

Essendon has a $20 million redevelopment of Windy Hill planned, which will involve the construction of a new so-called high performance centre, the playing surface being enlarged to the dimensions of the MCG, the existing football facilities given over to a community centre and room to house the Victorian branch of the Australian Paralympic Committee.

The club has been seeking federal and state government funding since late last year. An in-principle agreement to substantially fund the relocation of the cricket club to nearby Fairbairn Park exists but has not been finalised.

However, the bowls club, which has existed at Windy Hill for 125 years, is poised to vote against a move at a general meeting next week after having a possible new home at Cliff Allison Reserve ruled out by the council last Friday.

Robson said last night the Dons want to stay at Windy Hill but cannot do so if the shared tenancy arrangement remains.

Secretary of the bowling club, Pat Dowling, said that in ruling out the one option palatable to the club last week, the council confirmed it would not seek to interfere with the 25-year leases the bowls and cricket clubs signed in 2008. "The football club know that we only had one real (relocation) option and after our last meeting with the council that option was closed off to us," Dowling said. "Our position, therefore, is to stay.

He said at the time of its announcement that the football club was "being strangled" and the cricket and bowls clubs would have to find new homes but has not said before that the football club is prepared to be the one to depart.

The football club was invited to Windy Hill, to join the cricket, bowls and croquet clubs, after it lost its East Melbourne home in 1921. The Dons played their home matches at the ground for 69 years until moving to the MCG in 1992.

Source & More: www.theaustralian.com.au

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This article was written

by in A.F.L on 6 May 2010

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