Bowling club seeks to stay afloat

CREDITORS, directors and members of Bangalow Bowling Club met administrators yesterday amid rising floodwaters to figure out how to stop the 102-year-old club going under financially.

While the clubhouse itself will remain high and dry as always, its balance sheet is more of a concern to the appointed administrator, John Vouris.

He told the gathering of about 60 that while the club had assets of $1.8 million, its diminishing turnover had caused the accumulation of debts of more than $208,000.

Following declining patronage, the club's directors requested a report from Mr Vouris's company, Lawler Chartered Accountants, which found that they were losing money.

Mr Vouris said the directors then had no alternative but to close the club on January 13 and appoint an administrator.

"The beauty of this club is that it is asset-rich, it owns its land and while there's a mortgage to the ANZ bank, it's only a small mortgage so there's plenty of equity," he said.

"It's a question of whether members or others can put forward proposals that creditors will accept, allowing the club to continue on."

Members floated a variety of ideas during robust discussion, including the sale of land and poker machines, amalgamation with another club, the leasing of land to the Bangalow Swimming Pool Trust and direct funding from members.

Mr Vouris cautioned that creditors needed to be assured any proposal addressed the need for the club operate "under its own steam", but said the administration could be the wake-up call the club needed.

"Often members don't realise how bad their club is until they get an administrator, then they understand the reality their club may be closed - but it is the last card in the deck," he said.

The next meeting of creditors will be at the club on February 21.

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