FUTURE IN DOUBT: The Ballina RSL Sub-Branch last week decided to wind up the Ballina RSL Youth Club, and the Piper Dr building which houses the gymnastics and boxing training is for sale.
FUTURE IN DOUBT: The Ballina RSL Sub-Branch last week decided to wind up the Ballina RSL Youth Club, and the Piper Dr building which houses the gymnastics and boxing training is for sale. Graham Broadhead

'Sleepless nights' over decision to sell Ballina building

THE late Frank Anderson "wouldn't be rolling in his grave - he would be doing somersaults", said his daughter, Maria White, referring to the closure of the Ballina RSL Youth Club.

Mr Anderson, who passed away in 2010, founded the youth club in 1967, and today hundreds of kids are taught various modes of gymnastics and boxing at the club in the Southern Cross Industrial Estate.

The Ballina RSL Youth Club is to be wound down by the end of this month after the sub-branch advertised for expressions of interest for the 1995, 1599sqm property with an Industrial 1 zoning by December 7.

Mrs White, from Skennars Head, said her father devoted his life to the youth of this town.

"He would be devastated," she said.

GYM CLOSURE: Maria White said he father would be devastated that the Ballina RSL Sub-branch are selling the building which houses the youth club her father founded in 1967.  But the sub-branch said it needs the money to care for veterans and their families.
GYM CLOSURE: Maria White said he father would be devastated that the Ballina RSL Sub-branch are selling the building which houses the youth club her father founded in 1967. But the sub-branch said it needs the money to care for veterans and their families. Graham Broadhead

Mrs White who attended the youth club as a child said her grandchildren are current members of the Kindy Gym class.

"Where are these kids going to go to do this (gymnastics and boxing) now?" she asked.

"Dad was always worried about kids on the street and having nowhere to go, I don't want his legacy to be forgotten."

The 51-year-old Ballina RSL Youth Club comes under the wing of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch, but president Tony Tartaro said the move was about keeping to their core business of supporting veterans.

"We are selling the building and using the investment to set up a new RSL centre to assist veterans and their families deal with issues such as welfare, pensions and adjusting to civilian life," he said.

"Whatever needs veterans may have as a family unit, we need to support them."

Mr Tartaro said the decision to close the centre - which will cease operations by Christmas - was difficult, but necessary.

"I've has many sleepless nights about the decision," he said.

"But our charter is to care for veterans and their families."

Mr Tartaro said the sub-branch was currently in negotiations with a potential buyer who may be able to maintain the gymnastics and boxing activities.



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