Co-op owner wishes closure 'could have been handled better'
TUESDAY 12.30pm: OWNER of the Brunswick Fishing Company, William Silverman has said wished the closure of the co-op could have been handled better.
Yesterday, Mr Silverman made the shock announcement the co-op would be closing its doors indefinitely.
"Are you saying we could have handled it better? I wish we could, I really wish we could," Mr Silverman said.
Mr Silverman, of Whistle Funds Management that owns the co-op, said the decision to close came following financial pressures accentuated by the State Government plans for the Brunswick Boat Harbour.
He said the government's plans clash with his and the community's vision for a "traditional, working port".
The Sydney-based business man is in Brunswick Heads meeting with community agencies and his staff, who he said would be paid "full entitlements in every respect".
"I'm really sad about this, it's not like I am in an office in Sydney I am here facing the music down here because I care," he said.
"The shock to the community is a shock to me too, it's a horrendous thing to do.
"It's not something that I am remote from, this is very, very real. It hurts,"
Mr Silverman said he met with Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and other community agencies just last week, however his intent to close wasn't raised.
He hoped that the co-op would re-open in the future.
MONDAY 11am: AN ICON of Brunswick Heads will close its doors today leaving its team of 23 casual staff jobless.
The Brunswick Fishing Company is trading for its final day after about 34 years of operation in the coastal town.
Staff member, Colleen Wyness said the team were told by management on Friday that the business was no longer viable and that the co-op would be closing down by end of business today.
Ms Wyness, a staff member for more than eight years, described the news as "heart-breaking".
"(The staff) are all like one big family," Ms Wyness said.
Some staff members worked at the co-op since its inception about 34 years ago.
Regular customer of more than three decades, Betty Luck was devastated by the shock news to shut down the popular fish and chip shop.
"I can't bloody believe it," Ms Luck said.
"I was sick to the stomach when I heard (the co-op was shutting down).
"There was no indication that it was going to shut down."
The Ocean Shores local questioned how the local seafood industry as well as tourism would cope with the loss of the co-op.
"I'm shocked and we've got no where to buy fresh fish in this area now," she said.
"I hope its not for good."
Formerly known as Brunswick-Byron Fishermen's Coop, the fish and chippery was poised for redevelopment in 2015 and was renowned for being one of the biggest employers in Brunswick Heads.