THE Catholic Club Yoogali (CCY) has collapsed into voluntary administration and will close its doors for good next Monday.
In a shock decision that has blindsided many of the club’s 1000 members, the board last week elected to appoint an administrator amid fears directors could be held personally liable for the facility’s debt.
The club, a popular wedding reception venue which has been operating since the 1940s, owes $370,000 to the St George bank and about $60,000 to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
A shattered club president, Mal Ledwidge, broke the news to regulars on Friday night.
He said while the CCY had been servicing the debt and was asset rich, patronage had dropped so dramatically the club was “slowly drowning”.
“I’m still in a state of shock,” Mr Ledwidge said.
“It’s only because of the fear of losing our houses as directors that we made this difficult decision.
“Not enough people are using the club. Last night (Thursday night), I worked behind the bar and we only served five people.”
He said the only hope for the club’s survival was if a private investor purchased the facility.
The board will meet on February 21 and formally appoint an administrator, expected to be Wagga’s RSM Bird Cameron.
The closure of the CCY is another blow for Yoogali, which has now lost its general store and one of its clubs since being hit by floods last March.
It comes as Hanwood Sports Club and Yenda Diggers Club also struggle to remain financially viable.
The CCY board has made a spirited attempt to keep the club afloat in recent months, slashing costs and making a fresh appeal to members to “use it or lose it”.
Many of the directors have also worked as cleaners and barmen on a voluntary basis.
The club’s 12 casual employees have been informed about the imminent closure.
A number of wedding receptions and major functions were booked for this year but have had to be cancelled.
The site, which includes tennis and bocce courts, and all its equipment will be sold once an administrator is appointed.
“This is absolutely devastating for the board - we love the club and we love the people,” Mr Ledwidge said.
“We were starting to build the functions up again and had recently signed an agreement with the archery club to train here but it’s just a sign of the times.”