Fishermen fight to save club history

FORMER members of Brighton-Le-Sands Fishos Club are calling on Rockdale Council to give them back a slice of their club.

The amateur fishing club controversially shut its doors in February last year after 50 years when financial controllers Dean-Wilcocks Shepard were called in by non-bank lender Carrington National because the club defaulted on a loan repayment. 

Carrington National provided a loan of about $750,000 to the club in 2010.

Rockdale Council seized the club from the controllers in March, amid claims by Rockdale Council general manager Meredith Wallace that controllers were not able to guarantee back and ongoing rental payments.

The council called for expressions of interest in October to take over the valuable waterfront site, which is zoned for community use.

Councillors will discuss the applications at the next council meeting on December 12. 

Those that have met criteria will then be invited to submit a tender for the site, a council spokesman said.

Permissible uses of the land under the zoning include community or environmental activities, recreational areas and indoor and outdoor recreation activities.

Among the applicants is Muddy Creek Fishing and Boating Association. The association comprises about 300 former Fishos members who are desperate to keep some of their club’s history alive.

Spokesman Roger Brown, a Fishos member for about three years, said members were stunned by the club’s closure and wanted to keep the site’s boating and fishing traditions going.

‘‘The effect can only be imagined as the club was providing facilities at an affordable cost for retirees and families which are not replicated in Sydney,’’ Mr Brown said.

Muddy Creek’s application seeks to keep control of the boat ramps and boat storage area for the amateur fishing club. 

It noted these facilities were unique in Sydney as they were historically operated and run by volunteers. They are the only slipways in Botany Bay which have been deliberately kept affordable.

Despite the club’s setbacks, Mr Brown said the old timers had maintained an incredible sense of ‘‘good old Aussie mateship’’.

‘‘The club is essentially a lower-income club and should be nourished as part of our old Aussie tradition of a flat society where all can enjoy the pleasure of boating,’’ Mr Brown said. 

OTHER CONTENDERS

Clubs, organisations and businesses that have lodged an expression of interest in the Fishos site:

- The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW Ltd

- YMCA of Sydney

- Muscle and Fitness Pty Ltd

- Defence Support and Reform Group of the Department of Defence

- Laced Investment Group Pty Ltd

- Hardcore Gym Pty Ltd

- St George Football Club Ltd

- Muddy Creek Boating & Fishing

- Rockdale City Community Club Ltd

- Three Olives Pty Ltd

What would you like to  see at the Fishos site?

Old timers:Former members of the Brighton-Le-Sands Fishos Club want Rockdale Council to keep part of the site for amateur fishers.Picture: John Veage

Old timers:Former members of the Brighton-Le-Sands Fishos Club want Rockdale Council to keep part of the site for amateur fishers.Picture: John Veage

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