Kamo man Alan Agnew has offered to donate $6000 to help the Whangarei District Council gain tenancy of the old Mitre 10 building in the Regent and make it a home for indoor bowls and other indoor activities.
Despite Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth saying the council had no funds available to consider leasing the building, Mr Agnew has found other groups - Northland Nightmares Roller Derby, the Whangarei Rock 'n' Roll Club and the 60s Up Movement - interested in possibly joining the indoor bowlers if the former Mitre 10 site becomes available.
He reckoned the more community groups willing to use the building the merrier, because it could foster activities keeping teenagers off the streets and providing pensioners with exercise.
"I see it as a central place with easy access which could provide activities promoting family values," Mr Agnew said.
He urged people to call for a Mitre 10 lease in Draft Kensington Park Reserve Management Plan submissions, which close on Tuesday.
Mr Agnew said that despite the Whangarei Indoor Bowls Association investing $10,000-plus in the Kensington Stadium and a high school gym about 20 years ago, it was still no closer to having premises of its own.
Association bowlers now played in the unlined Badminton Hall in Toetoe Rd, which players found too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
After Mitre 10 Mega opened on Porowini Ave in September, the DNZ Property Fund had the store's former building on the market for $6 million. But Mitre 10 bought the property back to avoid costly lease arrangements and is now seeking tenants of its own.
"We'll look at any kind of proposal," Mitre 10 national property manager Tony Bullock told the Advocate.
Mr Bullock knew of Mr Agnew's efforts to get the building for indoor bowls. He said Mr Agnew's heart was "well and truly in the right place".
Mayor Cutforth said the proposal for the council to acquire the building for use as an indoor bowls venue had merit as an idea, but in reality was not viable.
"Council is not in a position to finance the building," he said. "Council understands the need for local indoor bowlers to find a suitable place ... and can assure them an alternative site is being sought. When we can secure one that meets their needs they'll be among the first to know."