JAMBEROO Bowling and Recreation Club directors have moved to allay fears of the club's demise, with changes planned to turn the club's fortunes around.
Among those changes will be the removal of the second bowling green, which will be replaced by a caravan park or camping area, and the closure of the club's second level, which will become two holiday units. The club has also rescinded the sale of the two residential units on Allowrie Street.
"While some of these measures may have surprised some members, particularly the move surrounding the sale of the residential units, which would have allowed the club to clear most of our outstanding debt, we felt these units were a vital asset for the club," president Paul Newberry said.
"We will use these units, plus the two new holiday apartments, to help service our debt. It would be a shame to sell off an asset like the units when we can make them work for us."
He estimated that short-term rental for the units could yield as much as $60,000 a year.
However, it was the plan to convert the second bowling green into a recreational site that initially raised the most eyebrows.
"As the climate of change has affected clubs, with many closing their doors over recent years, we have been thinking of ways to diversify our core revenue-raising practices," Mr Newberry said.
"The days of relying on poker machines and beer sales to keep clubs operating are limited. That, coupled with the fact that our community is isolated and people have to travel, sometimes makes it a chore to come here.
"The steady decline of bowling members has meant that we have no real need for a second green and meetings with council officers have been very positive when it comes to plans to convert the second green into recreational land.
"It's a matter of looking outside the square and looking at options.
"Jamberoo as a destination is very attractive, with our own wonderful sporting facilities like the bowling club, golf club, swimming pool, tennis courts and cricket and football ground. We are just minutes from Kiama beaches, Jamberoo Recreation Park and even Stockland Shellharbour.
"We really have it all."
Mr Newberry said bringing more tourists to town would also help local businesses, many of which had been struggling.
He was also buoyant about the recent increase in patronage at the club.
"The new board has worked on restoring some of the time-honoured aspects of the club, including opening at 10am each day, restoring the members draw, improving the raffles and running dance classes," he said. The bistro has also played a major part in bringing much-needed patronage to the club."
Mr Newberry and his vice-president Mick Carr met Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler and council officer Mark Biondich to outline their plans and have since met officers representing all departments of the council to talk about any issues that may arise.
"A development application (DA) for the two holiday units was lodged on October 11, a construction certificate was generated and the DA is expected be released by early next week," Mr Newberry said.
Kiama councillor Dennis Seage, supported the changes.
"If anyone has ideas that have merit and are in community interest, I think it is up to council to help find a way to make it happen, providing it ticks all the boxes and that is what this council is all about," he said.
Mayor Brian Petschler said the development could be a "win-win" for the club and the town.
"Providing they meet with all council's planning and engineering requirements, I think this would be a wonderful economic boost for all involved," he said.