NORTH Albury Sports Club will sell off its car park in a bid to dig itself out of financial trouble.
Members of the ailing club voted in favour of declaring the land a non-core asset at last night’s annual general meeting.
Declining memberships and a downturn in poker machines spending are to blame for the club’s ongoing revenue slump, its board of directors say.
But selling off the small parcels of land, which have been valued at $250,000, could help secure its future — at least in the short-term.
Just five of about 60 people at last night’s meeting voted against the move.
Club president Rob Williams told members the club had ongoing debts that needed to be addressed, including $160,000 to the Australian Tax Office.
The tax office has given the club until the end of next year to do so.
Selling the land would help clear the debt immediately.
Mr Williams said many clubs had seen a decrease in profits from poker machines, but it had hit North Albury hard and had left a $90,000 gap in the budget as of September 30.
Financial statements show the club made $116,796 from pokies between January and March this year. The total figure for last year was $553,968, down from $616,984 in 2011.
Mr Williams said anti-gambling campaigns, and other forms of gambling such as online, all most likely played a part.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Mr Williams said.
“It’s sure not specific to our club ... but if you take $90,000 out of our budget it leaves a fairly big hole,” he said.
Low membership numbers had also had an impact — the club has 1775 members.
“I know you guys do the best you can, but we do need fresh faces,” Mr Williams told the meeting.
“I know the members who are loyal and the work they do, but maybe we need to change direction and get new people to come in and have a look.
“We’ve got to the point where we’ve cut back all we can.”
The club hopes to sell the land on a “sale and leaseback” basis so it can continue using the car park space.
The board has flagged its intention to approach Albury Council in the first instance.