CLOSING: The Lismore RSL Club has announced its closure.
CLOSING: The Lismore RSL Club has announced its closure.

It's over - Lismore RSL closes

By RACHEL SCOLLAY

RHONDA SCHLINK fought back tears as she spoke of the shock reverberating through the Lismore RSL Club yesterday when staff learned their workplace would close on January 9.

The financially successful Goonellabah RSL Sports Club will remain open, using a combination of workers from both branches.

Now 49 staff from both clubs face an anxious few weeks, waiting to find out who has a job at Goonellabah and who will face forced redundancy.

In the meantime, voluntary redundancies have been called for.

With debts of more than $3 million, the financially beleaguered Lismore RSL Club has been in receivership since April, so the news didn't come as a complete surprise to its 26 Lismore CBD staff.

"But we were forever hopeful," said Rhonda, a club supervisor who has worked at the RSL Club for the past 12 years.

"It's like being hit in the stomach. Just having it confirmed makes it hard."

Receiver David Leigh, appointed by the National Australia Bank, said the number of job losses was yet to be determined.

He said there had been a lot of angst surrounding the decision to shut shop in Market Street and sell off the building and assets.

However, he didn't think anyone would be surprised.

"When we turned up in April, a lot of people expected us to padlock the doors, he said.

"That would have been the easy thing to do. But we wanted to explore every possible option for changing how this place operated.

"But it was too hard. Too much money needed to be spent."

RSL Supervisor Sue McIntyre, who has worked at the Lismore club for seven years, said the news was particularly hard just before Christmas.

"You are supposed to be celebrating with your families and friends, and now we don't know if we'll even have a job after Christmas," she said.

Mr Leigh said a full valuation of the Market Street building with its 'public use' zoning would be commissioned in the New Year.

He would not hazard a guess as to its value, but said the sale of the building and assets was unlikely to clear the $3.2 million debt.



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