Bowls club struggling to survive forced shutdown
THE COVID-19 lockdown has claimed many businesses in rural Queensland and a Banana Shire bowls club is among those staring down the barrel.
The Biloela Bowls Club has fought a lot of battles over the years but now may be its toughest yet with the bills continuing to pile up while the doors remain shut.
Biloela Bowls Club management committee chairman Sam Lunck said the club faces a difficult road ahead.
"There is no way to sugar coat it - the club has been struggling financially for several years," Mrs Lunck said.
"We pay nearly $24,000 in rates a year, $12,000 in electricity, $12,000 in insurance among other licensing fees and charges.
"The club was just starting to make some real positive steps forward when we were forced to close our doors due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
"While we are closed we don't bring in a single cent in revenue but we still have large bills like rates, electricity and insurance that need to be paid."
On March 23 the club announced it would close and cease all activities until further notice as the government implemented restrictions to counter the coronavirus pandemic.
While restrictions have eased since then, Mrs Lunck took to the club's Facebook page on May 12 and explained it was unviable for the club to reopen during stage one restrictions and the doors still remain shut with stage two in effect.
"We are a community-based club, run by its members and volunteers, who do their best to provide sporting facilities for people of all ages and abilities and a place where the public can socialise in a family friendly environment," Mrs Lunck said.
"But in reality, the members of this club could be forced to make some really tough decisions in the next few months. Decisions that have been discussed by previous committees but put off in the hope that things will turn around.
"This didn't happen and COVID has just made a bad situation even worse."
Mrs Lunck said if the club can reopen as restrictions ease further, there are a few projects they would like to pursue to improve the club.
"There are several keys projects we are looking at implementing like having the building airconditioned and providing an outdoor entertainment area," she said.
"These would certainly help attract more patrons to the club, but in reality, they are projects that we cannot get off the ground without financial assistance from outside sources.
"We are only a small club that relies heavily on volunteer labour and our volunteers have been doing a terrific job for a long time, battling to keep the doors open."