Georges River 16ft Sailing Club set to become part of Illawarra Catholic Club

Amalgamation: Georges River 16ft Sailing Club at Dolls Point. Picture: John Veage
Amalgamation: Georges River 16ft Sailing Club at Dolls Point. Picture: John Veage

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

Members of the two clubs will vote in the next week on the proposed amalgamation, which has been agreed to by both boards.

If approved, the Dolls Point club would continue to operate under its existing name, and sailing activities will continue with the injection of more funding.

Illawarra Catholic Club (ICC), which trades as Club Central at Hurstville and Menai, will pay out the sailing club's outstanding debts, including $250,000 to the Australian Taxation Office.

ICC has committed to spending a minimum of $10 million over 10 years on the sailing club, including $5 million in enhanced facilities and amenities.

Improvements would include a new feature balcony the length of the club premises facing the beach and Botany Bay, with an adjoining large bar-restaurant.

The reception area and kitchens would be upgraded.

In July last year, the sailing club's board decided to seek expressions of interest for an amalgamation partner.

In a letter to members, chairman Allan Brassil said, "As you are aware our club has been trading under financial pressure for the last few years".

"This has greatly increased in recent times by COVID related lockdowns and business disruptions," he wrote.

"The board have taken several steps to address and alleviate these problems including a reduction in costs and contracting out catering which had been incurring significant losses.

"Further, we have been able negotiate extended funding lines with our bankers and have obtained extended repayment terms with the Taxation Office on debt arrears.

"However, whilst these actions have afforded the club some time to plan its recovery, the combined effects of the extended lockdown and capital requirements of the club have necessitated further action.

"We have decided to implement a contingency plan as protection against the on-going financial impact that COVID-19 has caused over the past 17 months."

Club members were subsequently advised amalgamation proposals sought from clubs within a 50km radius were subsequently received from ICC, St George Motor Boat Club and Manly 16ft Sailing Club, which operates and is rebuilding the nearby St George Sailing Club.

"After rigorous consideration", the ICC's proposal was accepted, the board advised.

The memorandum of understanding says ICC will be the continuing club and the sailing club will be dissolved.

Crown Lands will be asked to transfer the maritime and land leases.