Ballina RSL vying for Gold Coast's crown
By DAWN COHEN
THE BALLINA RSL Club is vying for the Gold Coast's crown as the area's conference capital.
Ballina RSL Club chairman Bob Grant said apartments planned as part of a multimillion dollar redevelopment would provide the accommodation expected by conference organisers as part of a venue package.
"Now, larger conference organisers go to the Gold Coast and other venues because we can't provide accommodation," he said.
"When we can supply a full conference package including meals, it will benefit the whole community."
The apartments will be in a leisure, retail and entertainment centre planned for the club's western car park. Apartment access to the club will be direct.
The masterplan, released on Tuesday, has been designed with Ballina Shire Council's existing development height restrictions in mind, RSL general manager Bill Coulter said.
"The council is reviewing development guidelines and the current height restriction of 16 metres may be eased," he said.
"If so, we will be able to go higher."
Ballina RSL Club vicechairman Gary Hooley said the conference dollar would provide an alternative income to poker machines.
"We are trying to think 10 years in advance," he said.
However, a future as a premier coastal entertainment centre is uncertain.
"We get major performers during the week rather than on weekends because we only have a seating capacity of 450 to 500," Mr Hooley said.
" We need 700 to cover costs on the weekends.
"The auditorium is the final stage of the masterplan. "We don't know yet how it will be done or if seating will be increased."