Membership and relevance the major hurdles for tennis club

HISTORIC tennis club Royal King’s Park will again appeal to members on a proposal to refinance the facility, this time with a redevelopment proposal presented by John Alexander’s Next Generation.

Given a clean bill of financial health, at least temporarily, WA’s recognised home of tennis wants the members to agree to a detailed feasibility study of a proposal to develop the club.

Next Generation proposes to upgrade the facilities in line with demands of modern recreational facilities, with a multi-million dollar revamp that could include hard courts, a gym and swimming pool.

While such a move would need to clear numerous hurdles, including the approval of the King’s Park board, RKPTC president Jim Murphy believes the club’s long term survival requires the ability to attract new members and the public to use the facilities on a commercial basis.

“The future of clubs like Royal Kings Park is providing greater access to club facilities, understanding the needs of the community and delivering those, while at the same time retaining the integrity of the club and its 100 years of tradition,” Mr Murphy said.

“You can’t exist in isolation any more.”

As an incentive the club is offering members who are financial at the time of the vote a CPI-linked cap on their fees if the redevelopment goes ahead.

During the past two years, RKPTC has gone to the brink of financial collapse, forcing the club to cut costs, sack staff and ask members to pay a special levy.

The pain has come as the club has sought to maintain about 30 grass courts as well as heritage-listed stands on a member base which has dwindled to about 800, half the number of a few years earlier.

The efforts to restructure the club’s finances appear to have been successful, with 73 per cent of members already paying the levy and about $250,000 cut from operating costs during the past two years.

An outside party, Hatz Café & Bar Pty Ltd, has been contracted to take over the bar and restaurant.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show Hatz Cafe is a Victorian-registered company owned by Swanbourne - based Andrew Wightman.

The move to outsource the catering operation is aimed to remove direct overheads and increase net revenue.

However, the club was warned by its accountants that its financial security relies on at least maintaining current levels of membership.

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