Club pleas for members' support

LONG-STANDING Club Coffs director Kevin McLaughlin has appealed to members to support their club in its hour of need and to use its facilities.

He said this was the best thing members could do to help at this stage.

The club was placed into voluntary administration on Monday.

There will be a members’ information session from 6pm-7pm on Wednesday in the club’s Waratah Room. This will be a members-only meeting.

There will be a creditors meeting on Thursday, February 10, from 10.30am - 11.30am in the club’s Waratah Room. This will be for creditors only.

“It is heartbreaking,” Mr McLaughlin said of the club’s present financial difficulties.

“I tried my best and I’m taking it pretty hard.

“A lot of people have put so much work into the club and I feel for them as well.”

He said other long-standing current and former members would be ‘truly devastated’ by its troubles.

Kevin McLaughlin was president of the club, then Coffs Harbour Catholic Recreation and Sporting Club, when it celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1994 and has been involved with the organisation for more than 30 years, 18 of them as president.

He retired in 1999 but was later persuaded to return.

Yesterday he absolved the company’s auditors of any blame for the club’s situation, saying the auditors had provided advice and warnings to the board.

Mr McLaughlin said there was not one single cause which led to putting the club into voluntary administration on Monday.

He said a downturn in gaming revenue, which had been reflected in many clubs along the coast; high government taxation; catering problems which were now resolved and a costly Supreme Court legal case last year over the change of name from Catholic Club to Club Coffs had all contributed.

He said the sale of assets, like the Gundagai Street houses owned by the club, had been undertaken to reduce bank debt.

“We are trying to get back to square one and get going again,” he said.

Life member, former board member and one of the club’s founders, Bill Mackay, said he hoped the club could trade its way out of debt and this would probably be possible if the administrators cut costs.

“This is not an isolated case,” Mr Mackay said.

“Little clubs are closing all over the place,

“This is a good little club and is serving a purpose in the town.

“I was just looking at the history book on the club’s first 25 years the other day.

“I hope this is not the final chapter and there will be another chapter on the club’s revival.

“I would be very sorry if it did close its doors.”

In addition to its social, sporting and community values, Club Coffs is a major employer and supports local suppliers.

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