RSA closure a boost for other clubs

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 19/02/2013

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The Palmerston North Returned and Services Association has started losing members to other Manawatu clubs since overwhelming debt forced its closure of its clubrooms.

The RSA premises in Broadway Ave closed in December when the club's executive called in receivers. A report released last week revealed the club owed more than $2 million to creditors.

RSA president George Mathew was unsure of the current membership figures but said the club's numbers had taken a hit. "We are struggling a bit with members leaving."

Members were always going to think twice about signing on for another year in the months following the building's closure.

But having reciprocal visitation rights with the Palmerston North Cosmopolitan Club had helped keep many members on, he said.

While Cosmopolitan Club members could not visit an RSA any more, Mr Mathew said the arrangement was still a win-win.

"It is a win for our members as they can go somewhere and it's a win for [the Cosmopolitan Club] because they have more bodies in their club spending money."

Cosmopolitan Club manager Desiree Garrigan said she had noticed the influx of new patrons. "A lot are coming here because we are a like-for-like club. We have always had relatively good ties."

Some RSA members were allowing their memberships to expire and were then signing up with the Cosmopolitan Club, she said.

Ashhurst RSA president Matthew Anderson said there had been a big jump in new members at his club. "Normally we have about two or three new members a month. At our last meeting we had 24 new members.

"A number of people did transfer from the Palmerston North RSA."

People were always going to leave the Palmerston North club once receivers were called in, he said.

Feilding RSA president Graham Kitchen was a bit surprised his club had not grown after the Palmerston North closure. "There has been quite a few Feilding guys over the years who have gone and joined Palmerston North RSA.

"I was hoping they might come back to Feilding, but it hasn't happened as of yet."

Despite the possibility of picking up more members with the Palmerston North clubrooms closed, Mr Kitchen said he would rather not think about that.

"I just hope something good happens, because Palmerston North - with the population it has - has got to have an RSA."

Mr Mathew hoped another Palmerston North RSA clubrooms would eventually be established, albeit much smaller than the Broadway complex, which the RSA had been trying to sell.

But that would all depend on the outcome of the receivership, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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