Club back from brink
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
CASH-STRAPPED clubs in Gladstone have become common place in recent years but finally there is some good news.
Yesterday the Gladstone Leagues Club announced it had traded out of a $6.5 million debt after four long years.
The news was a huge relief for the club's manager David Galea and means the board of directors will now take back the running of the facility and all associated gaming and liquor licences.
"It's great news and we really believe the best is yet to come for us now,'' Mr Galea said.
The news was also a boost for the region, with the recent financial woes of the Gladstone Golf Club being coupled with the closure of the RSL and Boyne Island Tannum Sands Country Club, indicating the financial demise of the local club scene.
Gladstone Rugby League president Roy Rowe said the news was a huge boost for the local rugby league scene.
"It means we have a home here and it is one of the best facilities in the region,'' Mr Rowe said.
Up until now the licences and general running of the club had come under the guidance of club receiver Jack Duff of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mr Duff said the club hit the skids after an $8 million expansion in 2000.
Mr Duff said, even though a feasibility study was put together for the expansion, an overrun of costs and change in local economics led to the trouble.
But with a $375,000 profit last year and forecasts showing an even bigger taking this year, things are looking up for the once cash-strapped club.
The club will now look to trade out of its residual debt and regain ownership of all club assets including the land on which it operates.
The land is currently leased back from company Club Management which purchased the land in May 2002 to help recoup some of the Leagues Club's debts.