Meeting to find ways to save Lismore Heights bowlo
UPDATE 6pm: The public meeting on the future of the Lismore Heights bowling club will begin soon and you can follow the debate and discussion via Twitter.
The Northern Star's Twitter feed is posted below, so you can follow the action even if you don't have a Twitter account.
5am: LISMORE Heights Bowling Club members are canvassing every possible option to keep the club open ahead of a public meeting at tonight to discuss the club's future.
The meeting will be held at the club from 7pm.
Club secretary Bob Swords said members would welcome a tenant taking over the site such as an aged care facility, community service group, or even an art gallery.
The Lismore Workers Club (LWC) board will convene before the meeting to decide whether to allow members three months to investigate re-opening the club under a new business entity.
Mr Swords said the three month reprieve was critical.
"We need the three months to be able to do our research properly," Mr Swords said.
If the reprieve is granted, it is understood LWC would cut back all ancillary facilities such as gambling, alcohol license and bar, and pay TV, but would maintain a greenkeeper and allow bowling to continue.
Mr Swords said the club cost LWC $20,000 a month in overheads alone, but estimates the new entity could cut costs by at least 50%.
"We think we can run it more cheaply than that," he said. "There will be a lot more voluntary labour required assisting behind the bar and with maintenance of the grounds and the building.
"We will also be applying for a reduction in our Crown land rent, to the Department of Lands, through representations from (Lismore MP) Thomas George."
But the club would first need to confront the major cost of a de-amalgamation from Lismore Workers Club, to which it joined in 1994.
These costs are estimated at $50,000 in legal fees alone, plus another $100,000 in working capital to re-open some of revenue-generating facilities including poker machines and the bar.
"If it's not possible, I guess the decision will be for us to walk away," Mr Swords said.