THE Cannington Lawn Bowling Club says it will have to close its doors on March 31 if the City of Canning does not commit to renewing its lease.
The announcement comes 12 months after revelations of seven years of serious financial mismanagement, which led to a $100,000 debt to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and about $40,000 to debtors outside of the club.
Club president Linda Landers said since the accounting problems came to light, the club had reduced the amount it was in arrears to $10,000 and the ATO debt to about $75,000.
She said the financial issues had been a thorn in the side of the 300-member club, which could not make long-term plans without proving to the City that it was financially viable.
“Essentially we need to grow our membership, but we can’t sign any new sponsors or new members or schedule events without a lease,” Ms Landers said.
“The council will not renew our lease and it is frustrating; we have potential revenue sources that can’t be implemented without a lease.”
Ms Landers said an agreement to trade until March 31 was interpreted by the club as a date for reassessment, not closure, but the council would not meet her to establish clear terms.
“We had no idea the council had no intention of even considering to renew the lease of the club,” she said.
Ms Landers said the closure would affect local clubs, including the Cannington Lions, which has used the club as a meeting space for 20 years.
“If we can’t renew our lease on March 31, we will have to close the doors and walk away,” she said.
Canning chief executive Lyn Russell said there were no plans to close the club and the City was open to a conversation with Ms Landers but did not commit to meet before March 31.
“The City has at no time decided to close the bowling club,” she said.
“The City received a letter from the club’s president requesting an opportunity to discuss a new lease beyond March 31. In working with any club, the City needs to be mindful of the ability of a club to meet its obligations and its future commitments, both financial and non-financial, and the likelihood of a club to realise its goals.”
The club is inviting the community to help by attending a Save Our Club day this weekend at George Street West.
Ms Landers said the club was passionate and keen to prove it was viable to the Council.
She said the club would put out a call for prospective members to sign an intention to join if the lease was extended to prove its potential for income.
Gates open at 11am this Sunday.