New challenge: Services Club CEO Guy Diven who will head the merger with the Murwillumbah Bowls Club.
New challenge: Services Club CEO Guy Diven who will head the merger with the Murwillumbah Bowls Club.

Services club to rescue bowlo

MURWILLUMBAH'S Services Club will take over the town's financially-strapped bowls and sports club after Services Club members unanimously supported the move.

Services Club chief executive officer Guy Diven yesterday announced his club was ready to turn the failing bowls club operation around following a vote by Services Club members on Monday in which 100 per cent of those present supported the takeover.

Earlier, bowls club members delivered a 74 per cent vote in favour of the merger and were waiting on the decision of the Services Club.

“We put the resolution to the members and we had a 100 per cent acceptance,” said Mr Diven.

“It's a fantastic mandate for the board of management to get down there and turn that business around.”

Mr Diven warned it could take five to eight weeks for the NSW Casino Control Authority, which supervises club licences, to approve the merger following a 30-day period during which it would call for submissions.

He said the Services Club had promised to consider keeping up to 10 staff employed by the bowls club, although it had always made clear the terms of the deal excluded con- tinuing with the position of the bowls club secretary-manager, currently held by Helen Avery.

“We have guar- anteed we will look at all those employees down there for further employment,” Mr Diven said.

“We have submitted to them our employment terms.

“The only position we are not continuing with is the secretary-manager's job.“It's about getting this business turned around so we can create more jobs down there.”

Ms Avery welcomed the decision.

“A lot of our members who were also members there (at the Services Club) went down to vote,” Ms Avery said.

“It's a good outcome. I'm without a job, but everyone else has got one so that's fine.”

Last month Mr Diven said the merger plan would protect community assets, save the game of bowls in Murwillumbah and most importantly save bowls club jobs.

He said the Services Club had enjoyed “50 per cent growth in jobs” in the past seven years “at a time when the club industry has contracted in terms of employment”.

The combined clubs will have a staff of about 45 people, assets of more than $8 million and a turnover of about $6 million a year.

In May this year it was revealed the Services Club had offered a lifeline to the 89-year-old bowls club.

The Services Club responded to a call by the bowls club management for “an expression of interest in amalgamation”.

Earlier last year bowls club members agreed to a potential sale of the club property to a developer who would turn it into a supermarket complex with bowls played on artificial greens on the roof.

That deal is understood to have collapsed during the time of the global financial crisis.



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