Woy Woy Leagues Club is closed down
Woy Woy Leagues Club has been closed down by its owner, the Easts Group.
The club in Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy, was forced to cease operating due to coronavirus restriction, along with other registered clubs, and its trading position appears to have led to its permanent closure.
"We face an uncertain future with all our clubs closed," Easts Group chairman Mr Nick Politis told members.
He said the group was "cautiously optimistic" about re-opening its Bondi Junction, Berkeley and Kingswood clubs, but had decided to close the Woy Woy club permanently.
Easts Group director Mr Brien Samphier said the decision was not made lightly and comes with a heavy heart.
"In 2012, the Woy Woy club's doors were closing, and we've kept it going since, but at an ongoing loss," he said.
The Easts Group had provided significant financial support to the playing group over the years, at times in excess of $100,000 a season.
He said that, in an effort to turn the club's financial position around, the board of directors began a process to redevelop the club site including over-55 style accommodation, commercial office spaces and a new leagues club premises.
The proposal was met with enthusiasm by local members, he said.
However, in January 2019, the Site Compatibility Certificate Proposal was rejected by the State Government's Independent Planning Committee.
"By this point, the Easts Group had invested around $800,000 into the development's compilation and design," Mr Samphier said.
"Over the latter months of 2019 and into 2020, the financial trading position of the club continued to decline, posing a significant financial burden."
Mr Samphier said the Easts Group would liaise with licensed clubs within the Peninsula community in an attempt to transfer the Woy Woy club's membership base across to a new club to ensure that members have a home they can enjoy.
"Should we be successful in achieving this goal for the benefit of our members, the Easts Group will pay the joining fee costs of each of our members to transfer to this club.
"We shall also be negotiating this transfer process for our loyal staff members who have served the Woy Woy Club for many years, in an effort and attempt to gain them employment wherever we can to the best of our ability."
The club currently employs 16 staff.
The Easts Group has decided to make an annual grant of $20,000 over the next three years to support the development of local junior rugby league players, with the option to extend this for a further two years.
Mr Samphier said that Easts would use its best endeavours to help the senior players to continue as a team or potentially merge with another playing group.
Interview (Haak Barry), 15 Apr 2020
Brien Samphier, Easts Group