Beerwah RSL closes doors on sad chapter

FINANCIAL difficulties have forced the Beerwah RSL Club to close four years after a messy dispute which saw more than 3000 of its supporters leave.

The club closed its doors on July 6 and the sub-branch moved its belongings and memorabilia out of the building last week.

Beerwah-Peachester RSL president Gavin Smith said he could not discuss how much money the club owed.

However, he hoped the sale of the property would cover all debts and allow the sub-branch to re-establish elsewhere.

Mr Smith said the club had been struggling for some time but had never recovered from a split four years ago which saw the citizens or supporters club merge with the Glasshouse Country Bowls Club, he said.

The RSL borrowed $100,000 to refit the building and re-opened the club premises a few months later but Mr Smith said it was never able to make up the lost ground.

"There was a community backlash. Some people came back but the majority didn't," Mr Smith said.

"We were only just building it up again when everything, Australia-wide, in the last 12 months has just gone dead as far as pubs and clubs are going."

How important is the survival of clubs, such as the Beerwah RSL, to regional communities?

This poll ended on 26 September 2015.

Current Results

Very important, they provide much more than meals and entertainment

59%

I don't think they are necessary, but is nice to have them there

17%

Towns and communities will survive without them

23%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mr Smith said drink-driving laws and taxes on gambling and alcohol were making it tougher for pubs and clubs.

People also had less money for "luxuries" such as food, alcohol and entertainment.

Mr Smith said road changes which took through-traffic out of Beerwah had also contributed to fewer people spending money in the town.

Mr Smith said he was personally "gutted" about the closure.

"I'd tried for three-and-a-half years to get the community back on side and it was just starting to swing that way but when this mini-recession hit, people tightened their belts and just weren't spending," he said.

Mr Smith said he expected a special general meeting would be called to appoint a liquidator within weeks.

From there, it was likely the clubhouse, which sits on about a hectare of land, would be sold.

"We've just got to take it step-by-step and sell the property and pay the bills and carry on from there with what we've got leftover, if we've got anything," he said.

He said the sub-branch memorabilia would be stored at a member's house for the time being.

The sub-branch would only buy new premises if there was any money left from the sale of the current club facilities but would meet "wherever we can" in the interim, he said.


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