A multi-million-dollar revamp of the a local RSL club is breathing life into a flailing business and its proximate community as a whole.
With mounting debts in excess of $130,000, the future wasn’t too bright for the Thuringowa RSL Sub Branch. But thanks to a timely takeover from the Townsville RSL, the Thuringowa Sub Branch has been thrown a lifeline and is now well in the midst of an impressive $4 million upgrade.
“In mid 2017 the Thuringowa Branch were considering whether to close the facility permanently, however they contacted Townsville RSL for assistance and in October 2017 a unanimous vote at a special general meeting confirmed that the Townsville RSL would take over the running of the Thuringowa RSL Club and assist in reducing their debt,” said Townsville RSL General Manager, Karla Malouf. “They now have a 99-year lease agreement with the Thuringowa Sub-Branch and pays a monthly rental for the use of the land.”
Initial plans for a potential redevelopment were originally set in motion in 2014 when Townsville RSL was approached by Thuringowa’s committee with a partnering proposal. After conducting a feasibility study into the consortium, which would inject some much-needed funds into the Upper Ross facility, plans for the partnership were stalled on both sides.
But late last year, the green light was given for design plans to be updated for the year that was 2017, and months later, construction began on redeveloping the existing club which, Karla said, is now well underway.
“The redevelopment is an enhancement of the existing club, which is well known to the local community, servicing the local catchment. It will provide a superior offer, including gaming, that meets contemporary standards and better serves member needs. The current antiquated bar will be demolished and replaced along with the kitchen and toilet facilities. Entertainment areas will be refurbished and extended to include a large, roofed deck area.”
A plethora of locally-owned and operated building and construction companies, surveyors, town planners, engineers and trades have been engaged as part of the works, including Ken Tippett Architects, Brazier Motti, Steve McKenzie Consulting Engineers, STP Consultants and Parker Hydraulics Consulting Group.
Karla said Townsville RSL takes every opportunity to support local businesses and this project is no different.
“The redevelopment of the Thuringowa RSL provides 100% support for local business,” she stated.
“The builder, Jackson + Semler, has had a long association with the RSL in Townsville and has enlisted the services of Townsville Sub-Contractors for all trades. Not only that, we foresee a team of 35 employees on the full completion of the new look facility and it’s our full intention to source the majority of our new employees from the local catchment area.”
While the community’s response to the revival has been mostly positive, committee members want to reinforce the message that their survival tactics were implemented to ensure that the important welfare work carried out by local RSL branches is able to continue, with the club’s transformation to cement the RSL tradition into the area, without its purpose getting lost in a shiny, new façade.
“We’ll have a partial re-opening towards the end of October and a completed works opening prior to Christmas,” she revealed.
With membership numbers already skyrocketing, Karla is confident the development will be a boom for the Upper Ross, attracting new businesses and breathing life into the area.