Murwillumbah Bowls Club will close on June 30 after 91 years in operation.
Murwillumbah Bowls Club will close on June 30 after 91 years in operation.

End of line for Mur'bah bowlo

THE Murwillumbah Bowls Club will close in June after 91 years at the heart of the community.

Club officials were advised of the decision via email on Thursday.

The announcement comes less than two years after the Murwillumbah Services Club took over the financially-strapped club promising to nurse it back to health.

Bowls club president Lex Fletcher said he was shocked to be told by email about the decision to shut the club. "It was more than a bit of a shock," Mr Fletcher said.

"There is going to be a lot of disappointed people." In its nine decades the club has bounced back from several floods, the Second World War and the Great Depression, but it appears the current economy is packing an even harder punch.

"The club has been through a lot in its years," Mr Fletcher said. "And it's always survived until now."

The members were willing to do more volunteering but the Services Club had rejected many of their suggestions, according to Mr Fletcher. "We've had suggestions of how to save money," he said.

"The women are willing to make cold meat and white sauce sandwiches if that's what it comes down to, just like the clubs used to do in the past.

"It's just been a very sad day.

"We'd just like the people of the Tweed to know we've done everything we can."

Secretary Harley Ackerman said he was at a loss to figure out why the Services Club had closed the club's restaurant.

Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven confirmed that the board had voted to close the club and an email was sent to the presidents of the men's and women's clubs.

"The letters were in the mail but the email went to the presidents as a matter of courtesy," Mr Diven said.

He said he wanted to reiterate that this was a "very difficult" decision almost six months in the making.

"It's been a hard and difficult and sad decision for the board," Mr Diven said.

"They pondered over this for a long period of time but the losses were not decreasing and in some cases getting worse."

The Murwillumbah Services Club took over the bowls club in August 2010 when debts almost forced the bowls club's closure.

Yesterday Mr Diven said the Services Club had spent about $500,000 on improvements and repairs at the bowls club but it could not stop the losses.

Services Club president Lindsay Howard-Smith said in a statement that the club was working with the 130 active bowlers through the advisory committee to relocate them.

"The future of the site is under review and the membership and staff will be advised when there is more information at hand," Mr Howard-Smith said.

Mr Diven said the club had reached an agreement with the ladies' bowlers to pay for a year's membership at an alternative club and was also negotiating a sponsorship deal while negotiations with the men's club was continuing.

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