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City land on which the Zoo Lake Bowling Club has been operating will be put out to tender, but it will “stay a social site”.
WILD rumours about Zoo Lake Bowling Club closing its doors have shocked loyal patrons of the popular establishment.

The rumours range from the site being turned into a helipad for the billionaire Gupta family to it being developed commercially. However, the Johannesburg Property Company, which manages the City’s land, has emphatically denied the gossip and says simply that the current lease has expired.

“The lease expired in August and we applied for a new one in June,” said Rhona van Zyl, the chairperson of the club. “The problem is that there was no renewal clause.”

The Johannesburg Property Company will be issuing a tender for the club’s operations next year, but Van Zyl said the club was in negotiations with the company to stay on the premises until that time. “It will go to rack and ruin if we leave it,” she said. It is operating on a month-by-month lease at present.

“We stand a very good chance of winning the tender,” she added, “because we are organised.”

The club grounds, part of the Herman Eckstein Park, were donated to the people of Johannesburg in 1904 and are zoned as public space. “It must remain a bowling club as it can’t be rezoned or sold,” she said.

“It will stay a social site; we just need to go through these processes for the tender so that it is unbiased,” explained Ashton Bodrick, the executive manager for stakeholder management and marketing at the Johannesburg Property Company. “There is a good chance that the current club will win the tender.”

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