'Marching along': RSL club reveal big new plans for future
THEY almost folded two years ago but the Gladstone Anzac Memorial Bowls and Citizens Club has big plans for the future.
But there is one stumbling block getting in the way - financing its expansion plans.
The club recently scored $500,000 through the Gladstone Foundation with that money to be used to finance Stage 1 of its redevelopment.
Club chairman Graham McVean expects to have those funds in the bank "within the next eight weeks" so the club can begin preparations.
"Then we'll move to Stage 1 of our renovations which is to provide a second story to the western end of the building to accommodate the RSL upstairs," Mr McVean said.
"That returns to us a very important room they've been occupying downstairs. It will give them much more space than they've had, it will allow them to add extra consulting rooms for veterans that require post traumatic stress advice and also give them some privacy.
"I expect those works should commence in the last quarter of the calendar year - we've through planning with the council which I don't expect to be a problem as we're dealing with renovations and not additions.
"That's all marching along quite nicely and it will be a big relief, not only to the RSL, but also to the club because when we get that room back that they're occupying at the moment that will allow us to have a private dining area for people who want intimate meetings up to 20 people."
However completing Stages 2 and 3 has hit a snag due to ownership of the land.
The bowls club is situated on land owned by the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy with Gladstone Regional Council trustee of the trust land which is a reserve for park purposes.
GRC then leases an area of the reserve to Gladstone Bowls Club, whose current lease expires in 2026.
"As trustee, council cannot transfer or sell the land. The conversion of the reserve to freehold land tenure is a matter for DNRME," Mayor Matt Burnett said.
"Gladstone Regional Council has not received any requests from DNRME to surrender the trusteeship of the reserve."
Mr McVean was unaware DNRME was involved in the process and said "if it's a matter of going to the department I'll do that as early as tomorrow".
"We're looking at raising a further $2 million and we haven't applied for any of that money yet because we don't own the land," he said.
"In Stage 2 and Stage 3 we'll see a complete revamp of the club so we can put in shade cloth for the bowlers, a deck so people can dine alfresco outside and watch the games being played and also a complete refurbishment of the front of the building."
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said he supports the club's expansion having assisted the club through its 2017 debt crisis.
"They've gone from a position where they were basically about to shut it down to now investing in it to make it a better place and more usable which I'm fully supportive of," Mr Butcher said.
"It's a great community facility and we've struggled particularly with the RSL in Gladstone to maintain a home for them so this is of critical importance for me."