By Jamie Pandaram and Lawrence Conway
21 April 2005 – The Torch
THE Bulldogs have hit out at Canterbury Council for the way they have presented a report regarding a proposal to have the club remain at Belmore Sports Ground. At its last meeting, the councillors were presented with the report, which suggests the Bulldogs asked Canterbury Council to help them upgrade the site so they could stay at the dilapidated premises.
Bulldogs spokesman Chris O'Brien said it was council who offered to upgrade Belmore first, but when they realised they could not afford it, backed out. "The general manager (Jim Montague) came to us, we did not instigate the idea, they are the ones that started the ball rolling," Mr O'Brien said. "That is what confused us because in the report it suggests we went to council first. "It looks as though they've come out and rejected the Bulldogs' request." Mr Montague did not return the Torch's calls yesterday.
The latest round of bickering ensures the Bulldogs will leave Belmore on unhappy terms. The council makes it clear in the report they are happy for the club to upgrade Belmore Sports Ground but will not pay for any of the ground or facility's development, estimated to require more than $1.2 million.
The club has insisted for months they will not pay for any upgrade. The Bulldogs will relocate to either The Crest in Georges Hall or Sydney Olympic Park next year. "We are still in negotiations with both of those organisations," Mr O'Brien said. Councilor Ian Latham said if the Bulldogs left the area, it would be difficult to find other users for the ground. "If they do decide to leave I would be very disappointed and it would cause the council great difficulties," Mr Latham said.
"There are not many rugby clubs willing to play there and few soccer clubs could afford it." Mr Montague said last week the council has commissioned a study to look at various uses for Belmore Oval should the Bulldogs leave the ground and that a report would be given to council "in the near future".