Legal stoush kills merger

A COSTLY legal battle has dashed the proposed super merger of two Coffs Harbour licensed clubs.

Club Coffs on West High Street and Coffs Harbour Leagues Club at Advocate Park were to have joined forces but the amalgamation was called off last week.

Club Coffs CEO Carl Mower says his board had reached the difficult decision in the wake of the Supreme Court showdown with C.ex Coffs over last year’s re-branding of both clubs.

Leagues club chiefs say their club’s future is now in jeopardy, with an emergency board meeting set down for tomorrow night.

“I’m shattered to be honest,” said Coffs Harbour Leagues Club chairman Greg Spence.

“Club Coffs would have taken over the running of our club, which has been run for 17 years by a volunteer board of directors but it’s become too hard to run on a voluntary basis.

“Our secretary manager and licensee Roy Dunn has been wanting to retire but the only reason he has stayed on is because Club Coffs approached us and talked to us about amalgamation, which a majority of our members voted yes to.

“We’re solvent, we have money in the bank and we’re trading at a profit – we purely and simply need someone to run the club.”

Mr Mower said even though Club Coffs ‘won the court case’ with C.ex Coffs (a point disputed by C.ex Coffs), the expenses involved now prevented the amalgamation.

“We’re not talking little dollars here,” Mr Mower told The Advocate.

He would not reveal the costs his club had incurred.

“It doesn’t put us in the position to take on another club. We would still like to continue it but we can’t,” Mr Mower said.

“We were awarded some costs in the judgement but the expenses we have incurred and are still incurring have made life a lot more difficult. There is still money we have to outlay as a result of the judgement.

“Our board of directors would still like to continue the merger but we have to do what is in the best interests of our existing members at Club Coffs.

“It’s extremely disappointing because the amalgamation is in the best interests of both clubs. We believe both groups and the community could definitely benefit.

“We’re a sporting and recreation club and we’re about supporting local sporting organisations like rugby league, oztag and touch football which are held at Advocate Park.

“But we made a decision based on what was best – whether to take on a new club and not do our renovations, or putting money into our club.

“There was a lot of infrastructure to be done at the leagues club.”

Mr Mower said the $2 million Club Coffs revamp would start in September or October, with alfresco dining the first stage of the project. The facelift would continue during the summer months.

Both Club Coffs and C.ex Coffs claimed victory after last month’s court judgement.

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