Two years ago, the Mullumbimby Ex Services club was facing closure after a decade of financial decline.
Now, with its finances back on track after a series of property sales, the club is planning a $2.36m upgrade that includes a new retro-themed squash-court café and children’s playground.
The Development Application (DA) for the project will come before this week’s Byron Council meeting for assessment, with staff recommending approval subject to a series of conditions.
A key feature of the proposal is a new café featuring the club’s old squash court which has sat, un-used, for decades.
‘Much of the original squash court will be showcased with the timber floor, all line-markings and even the original lights preserved,’ the project’s architects, Project Leaders, said.
‘They will be complimented by an authentic, slightly industrial look.’
The café will reportedly open onto a new roofed terrace which will incorporate a children’s playground.
‘These modifications will improve the club’s ability to engage with the community and streetscape and for the first time there will be an equal-access ramp from the footpath into the clubhouse,’ the architects said.
Other features of the project include new women’s toilets servicing the bar area, upgrading and re-roofing the existing beer garden, a refurbishment of the sports bar and an extension of the building to provide for the deck, and seating for an expanded restaurant.
The club says there will be no increase to the licensed area and the additional unlicensed area will be 44m².
A key element of the club’s financial turnaround, according to the DA, was the sale of neighbouring properties which had been land banked.
The appointment of a new board and management in 2019 also contributed to this.
Prior to this the club was evidently in financial straits, having operated at a loss for the previous five years according to its financial reports.
This included recording a deficit of $184,665 in the 2018 financial year.
A key contributor was the loss of poker machine revenue, which fell 12 per cent during that year.
The latest project reflects a further movement away from poker machines as a source of revenue.