Bowled out of proportion

THE new owners of a Morwell tenpin bowling alley want to allay fears an all abilities bowling league will no longer be able to use their facility.

It comes after a discussion on Saturday afternoon when parents, carers and bowlers were led to believe the league had a week to move from their usual 2pm Saturday time slot.

A Facebook post, uploaded by a Traralgon parent whose 12 year-old son competes in the Happy Achievers Disabled Tenpin Bowling League, was re-shared thousands of times.

Wyncity Morwell general manager Edi De Pellegrin said she was bewildered how people could spread information so quickly “without even knowing the truth”.

“We were asking them (the bowling league) in the next couple of weeks if they could move to a 9.30am time slot,” Ms De Pellegrin said.

“There was no bullying; it was just a talk.”

The Happy Achievers league has been operating for 30-odd years and currently has about 40 registered bowlers.

Parents, carers and bowlers meet at 1.45pm each Saturday for a 2pm start, taking part in an accessible activity that people of all abilities can enjoy.

Ms De Pellegrin said she and her sister, who took over the Morwell business in May, had plans to upgrade the facility and expand the programs offered.

She said in order to do this they needed to make some commercial decisions, involving changing the Saturday bookings to make for a more efficient venue.

Ms De Pellegrin said they had never intended to force the all-abilities league out of the alley, but rather asked them to consider changing times.

“I hope that isn’t even a possibility (that the league folds) – I hope we can work it out between us,” Ms De Pellegrin said.

“All we want to do is work with them and help them… We don’t discriminate.”

Louise Varsaci, whose Facebook post went viral, described Happy Achievers as a welcoming and friendly league her son, Josh, felt comfortable joining.

“Everyone’s happy and they’re good sports about everything,” Ms Varsaci said.

“It’s a lot of fun, enjoyment and social too – a lot of friendships are formed within the group.”

She said she felt those involved with the league “had no time to do anything” following Saturday’s talks, which was why she shared her thoughts online.

But having met with Ms De Pellegrin’s sister on Monday to discuss options for a different time slot, she’s hopeful a compromise can be met.

So too, is Ms De Pellegrin.

“I think now that people have got a clearer picture, it’s not about whether they have disabilities or anything, we just want to organise the day a little better,” Ms De Pellegrin said.

“If we can just run the business efficiently, then we can do a lot more for everybody irrespective of abilities. Common sense will prevail, I hope so.”