Club closure breaks hearts

By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE decision to close the Boyne Tannum (BITS) Clubhouse next week was "heartbreaking'', foundation member Isabelle Anderson said yesterday.

Calliope Shire Council, after rescuing the club four times in past years, decided it would not do so again and instead placed it under voluntary administration.

Unless the administrator decides otherwise, the clubhouse doors will close on April 29.

"When we first set it up in the early 1980s things were running smoothly and in credit,'' Mrs Anderson said.

"All the foundation members are saddened and disappointed to hear it is closing down.''

The decision to close the club was made after the council discovered the club had not been remitting GST on its profits from gaming revenue dating back to 2003 when a management company took control of the club during a previous period under administration.

Calliope Shire mayor George Creed said the GST debt with penalties amounted to about $204,000.

"I must say the council was quite amazed that two previous audits and the accounting firm that worked on the direction of the management group failed to pick up this error,'' he said.

The error was discovered following an audit of the 2004 books.

Cr Creed said although the clubhouse would close, the council would ensure golf and bowls would continue and the clubhouse would remain available for hire to the community.

Cr Creed said for the first three months of this year, turnover dropped because of a general decline in the economy and members not supporting the club because of the plans for a new facility.

"Accordingly the council sees no merit in placing ratepayers' money into a facility which is not being supported by the local community,'' he said.

Council chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said the new developments would not affect the council's agreement with the BT Joint Venture Group which remained fully committed to the re-development of the site.

"They (the joint venture group) were going to close the clubhouse down anyway and demolish it after they built the new facilities,'' he said.

The project includes a new clubhouse, hotel complex and convention centre.



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