COLAC’S new RSL president says he hopes to revitalise the club amid financial struggles and dwindling membership numbers.
Pirron Yallock’s Ian Morgan is the club’s new president and the first Vietnam War veteran to fill the role in Colac.
Mr Morgan said a proposal to move Colac’s RSL club to a new development at the city’s golf and horse racing complex could help improve its future.
Colac Otway Shire Council is yet to approve plans for a joint development between Colac RSL Club, Colac Turf Club and Colac Golf Club.
The clubs’ initial plans included a new function centre, bar, restaurant and offices.
Mr Morgan said the new complex would benefit each club as well as the community.
“It’s very early days yet so we really don’t know how far it will go, but from our club’s perspective it would be very beneficial and it would provide a better facility for everyone to use,” he said.
Mr Morgan said the RSL club had suffered financially.
“There’s been a range of things contributing to that, including a downturn in the number of people dining at the RSL and increased competition with new bars and eateries in Colac,” Mr Morgan said.
“Power bills have gone up which isn’t helping anyone, and with the global financial crisis you’ll find a lot of clubs like ours have been doing it tougher,” he said.
“This isn’t something that only Colac is going through, all over the country there’s RSL clubs amalgamating or joining with different clubs.”
Mr Morgan said the RSL club would strengthen its appeal for more members.
“If we moved to the new development there would be the opportunity to pick up more members that way,” Mr Morgan said.
“You could say that if we didn’t move we might really struggle in four or five years down the track.”
Colac Golf Club captain Wayne O’Dowd said an information session on the proposed development had received an enthusiastic response from club members.
“It hasn’t been put to our members to vote on but certainly from the meeting we had, our members felt pretty positive about it,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“We’ve only got a basic concept in place and there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be sorted out before it gets to the stage where it will proceed,” he said.
“It’s in the hands of the Colac Otway Shire at the moment but from a golf club point of view it’s very positive.”