Fishos liquidation a shock to club management
NEWS of the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club's fall into has gone into liquidation has left community groups who use the venue at a loss.
Coffs Harbour's fishing community is reeling at last Saturday's sudden closure of the club.
The club's recreational fishing activities committee chairman, Ian Kemmis, said the impact to fishing members included the loss of the cleaning and boat washing facilities.
He is worried the new facilities in the area won't be able to handle the additional volumes of fishermen as a result.
The management of the club and the North Coast Hotel Group say administrators moved to liquidate the club on Friday, despite it being within the advised time frame to receive ministerial approval for a lease extension.
The extension had been approved by Coffs Harbour City Council earlier this year.
They claim the administrator acted without regard for the minister's impending decision, leaving the club no room to move.
Club president Bill Mabey described the decision of administrator's as a "huge shock".
"We've tirelessly jumped through hoops to ensure the Club had a future," Mr Mabey said.
"North Coast Hotel Group's position, as proposed financier, has always remained that payment will be made to creditors on approval of a lease extension to 2031."
The club and the North Coast Hotel Group said they were in discussions with their administrators and its legal advisers to ensure that all legal avenues for the reopening of the club were explored.
Mr Kemmis added there was currently nothing organised to support the members of the Fishos' social fishing group.
Moving forward, Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said he thinks three key aspects need to be addressed.
The first Mr Fraser said an agreement needs to be clarified with the club's creditors.
The second the Deed of Company Arrangement needs to be re-negotiated.
Finally, Mr Fraser said it needs to be determined who decides on any public expressions of interest involving the property.
"We need to work out who is who in the zoo," Mr Fraser said.
THE Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club Ltd has fallen into liquidation following a meeting with its administrators yesterday.
In a statement, Coffs Harbour City Council said it understands the payment of $1.2 million required under the Deed of Company Arrangement was not paid by the deed's expiry date, resulting in the liquidation of the club.
The news comes as the council requested, as the club's Trust manager, approval to negotiate a new lease with the club from the State Minister for Lands and Water, Niall Blair.
Based on the Fishos' business redevelopment proposal presented to the council on May 4, the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club had requested the extension of its current lease from 2021 until 2031.
At the council meeting on May 26, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the lease extension request.
In a letter regarding the request, Mr Blair said: "the department was only informed on Thursday June 30 that the Club would go into liquidation on July 3. While I understand that there may be a financing proposal, due to the lateness of this advice regarding liquidation, the department is not able to finalise the due diligence and probity processes necessary to support consent for such a lengthy extension to a use of public land."
Mayor Denise Knight said liquidation of the Fishos is a blow for all interested parties who rallied to save the iconic club.
"Obviously this turn of events is disappointing for all concerned," Cr Knight said.
"We were particularly hopeful that the Trust's request for the support of Andrew Fraser, the local State MP, in taking the cause directly to the minister in Sydney would help the club get their proposal over the line in quick time,
"However, despite Andrew's confidence, it seems the administrators have acted first."
The council said is was now working with individuals and community groups to ensure the facility will continue to be used for the benefit of the Coffs Harbour community.
The longer term use of the site will be considered further in coming months.