Georges River 16ft Sailing Club to become part of Illawarra Catholic Club | St George & Sutherland Shire Chiefs

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The Georges River 16ft Sailing Club is set to become part of the Llawarra Catholic Club after coming under severe financial pressure during the COVID pandemic.

Members of the two clubs will vote on the proposed merger over the next week, which both boards have approved.

If approved, Dolls Point Club would continue to operate under its existing name and sailing activities will continue with further funding being injected.

The Illawarra Catholic Club (ICC), trading as Club Central in Hurstville and Menai, will pay the sailing club’s outstanding debts, including $250,000 to the Australian Inland Revenue.

ICC has committed to spending at least $10 million on the sailing club over a 10-year period, including $5 million on improved facilities and amenities.

Improvements include a new feature balcony running the length of the club grounds overlooking the beach and Botany Bay with an adjacent large bar-restaurant.

The reception area and kitchens would be upgraded.

In July last year, the board of the sailing club decided to solicit expressions of interest for a merger partner.

In a letter to members, chairman Allan Brassil said: “As you know, our club has been under financial pressure in recent years”.

“This has increased sharply recently due to COVID-related lockdowns and business disruptions,” he wrote.

“The Board has taken several steps to address and mitigate these issues, including cutting costs and subcontracting catering that had been causing significant losses.

“In addition, we were able to negotiate extended financing lines with our bankers and received extended repayment periods for outstanding debts from the tax office.

“While these actions have given the club some time to plan for its recovery, the combined impact of the extended lockdown and the club’s capital requirements have necessitated further action.

“We have decided to implement a contingency plan to protect against the ongoing financial impact that COVID-19 has caused over the past 17 months.”

Club members were subsequently advised that merger proposals had been received from clubs within a 50km radius of ICC, the St George Motor Boat Club and the Manly 16ft Sailing Club which operates and is remodeling the nearby St George Sailing Club.

The board announced that the ICC’s proposal had been accepted “after rigorous examination”.

The letter of intent states that ICC will be the surviving club and the sailing club will be dissolved.

Crown Lands is being asked to transfer the sea and land leases.

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