Bowlers win a reprieve

Batemans Bay bowlers will be able to toast the New Year in after winning a reprieve for their embattled licensed venue.

The new ClubCatalina president Kim Odgers has announced trading would “probably” continue with reduced hours at the Sports and Leisure Club for another six months, unless business declined.

“We believe there is an opportunity for bowling to continue, at least so far as the first half of the year is concerned,” Mr Odgers told the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.

“We think it will go through to probably round about the middle of the year. I can’t see why it wouldn’t unless there are major changes to the way trading is going. 

“If the club continues to lose money and we can’t correct the losses we are incurring will have to review it again.”

Asked if members would be able to buy a beer at the club after January 1, Mr Odgers said, “Yes, my word”.

This decision reverses the previous board’s announcement that the licensed premises would close on December 31.

Men’s Bowling Club president Greg Wale said last month that bowlers had been told on November 16 that the deadline had been brought forward to Christmas Eve, but Mr Odgers says that was never locked in.

“Nothing was ever locked because it is a moving picture in the sense there is always a new circumstance to look at,” he said.

“It is ClubCatalina’s intention all along that we would review whatever we can, to do what we can for the future of bowling in Batemans Bay.

“The possibility of reviewing every aspect is always open.

“It was a shame the bowlers assumed it was going to close on December 24. If they had come to me or the board, I would have been able to say, ‘hang on for a little while, there is a continuing review and it is possible that we will go past December’,” Mr Odgers said.

He said a reduction in trading hours was possible.

“If we reduce the number of hours that the sports and leisure club is open, around the competition schedules, that is a way of controlling costs,” he said.

Mr Odgers became ClubCatalina president on October 31 and said the board must balance its responsibilities to golfing and bowling members.

“We have to strike this balance between what we see as our responsibilities to the bowlers who are constitutional members and also our wider financial responsibilities to all of the membership,” he said. “We can’t continually go down a road that might compromise financially the club as a whole.”

Mr Wale was unavailable for comment.

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