Burnie RSL club in battle for survival

THE Burnie RSL has closed for now and its president says it must evolve to survive.

NOT VIABLE AS IS: The Burnie RSL, which has closed its doors due to declining patronage. Picture: Stuart Wilson.

That is likely to lead to new operating hours and other changes.

President Michael Davis was yesterday adamant the club would re-open, but said it would not operate as it had in the past.

He also spoke of a need to revamp the current premises.

The club is closed until further notice.

Mr Davis said a community meeting would be called in due course and suggested the club needed to reach out to younger veterans and the wider community.

“The community is part of the RSL and people are welcome any time,” he said.

It is understood the club hit money problems due to falling patronage.

Mr Davis said it had operated with dwindling patronage for many months.

The club held a forum in November and an emergency meeting in July, he said.

“The RSL is run by a committee of volunteers with relevant skillsets in different areas to make it an ongoing entity,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been lacking in somebody with skills in the financial side.”

He said the club needed to preserve its traditions and functions, but could not preserve the Alexander Street venue as it was.

He said he would be devastated to have to move away from a venue built up by members, but “it’s going to take a lot to bring it up to date”.

“We’ve come to a realisation because of dwindling numbers through the door for day-to-day trading, we cannot remain open as a viable entity in the current form.”

He said it was an opportunity to revitalise and re-energise the sub-branch.

He said the RSL in Burnie was not seen as a place to go for a night’s entertainment, as mainland RSLs often were.

“We’re not here to compete with pubs and clubs; we’re in the game of providing entertainment for members, their guests and the wider community.”

He said the sub-branch was in close contact with the state branch about the issues.

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