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The Cyrildene Bowling Club – which was once the pride of Bruma, in eastern Johannesburg, but which turned into a vagrants’ haven after it deteriorated into a shocking state of decay and ruin – has been given a new lease of life.

The facility, which was stripped bare after it became vacant following the expiry of the previous lease agreement, has been transformed into a popular multipurpose sports and recreation facility for the benefit of the entire community of Bruma and neighbouring suburbs.

The centre, which has since been renamed Morninghill Country Club, has been extensively revamped and is steadily getting back on its feet, thanks to a partnership between small business operator Lola Verlaque and the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), the property arm of the City of Johannesburg.

Verlaque, a partner in Ekurhuleni Plant Hire, invested more than R2 million into the project after being selected as a preferred bidder to lease the property for nine years and 11 months in April 2013, with an expanded mandate to turn it into a mixed use facility.

The JPC’s mission is to effectively and efficiently manage the City’s property portfolio; maximise the social, economic and financial value of the assets; and enhance the efficiency of their use.

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, Ruby Mathang describes the Morninghill Country Club as “by far one of our success stories”.

He says this is so because it meets all the City’s objectives as far the use of its property assets is concerned.

The new-look facility is gradually becoming a hive of activity, with an increasing number of community members booking the venue for various social, entertainment and sporting events.

“Recently, we hosted a very exciting Heritage Day event,” MMC Mathang says.

The facility, which employs about 20 people, also caters for sporting codes such as soccer, karate and boxing. It also has a bicycle track and provides for dance lessons.

But Verlaque says her work is not yet done.

“The redevelopment of the facility is ongoing,” he says.

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