OUT: The RSL Club board members have been removed.
OUT: The RSL Club board members have been removed. Arthur Gorrie

Gympie RSL Club board's fate decided after golf club debacle

THE Gympie RSL Club board has been wiped clean with the remaining 2017-elected members "overwhelmingly" voted out at a special meeting last weekend.

About 120 club members attended Sunday's meeting, held after a "no confidence" motion in July did not end with the board members' departure.

Meeting chairman, RSL Queensland's Alan Birkenhead, said at least 110 members voted to oust the board.

"There was overwhelming support," he said.

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Treasurer Jill O'Brien was the only board member in attendance.

President Doug Van Gelder is reportedly away with family.

 

H.M.A.S. GYMPIE Battle Ensign flag on display at Gympie RSLA Sub Branch. Welfare and Pensions Officer Alan Birkenhead stands with the Flag.    Photo: Greg Miller / Gympie Times
Meeting chairman Alan Birkenhead. Greg Miller

Mr Birkenhead said the plan was to have a new board installed at a meeting to be held on November 4.

"We're hoping to fill the position with people of intelligence, and for the club and sub-branch to move forward together," he said.

"We're very confident that things will change dramatically."

He also commended Mrs O'Brien for attending, despite the likelihood of how the vote would go.

"Jill O'Brien was there for 40 years and you've got to give credit where credit is due," he said.

 

Gympie RSL Jill O'Brien.
Jill O'Brien. Renee Albrecht

Mrs O'Brien did not wish to comment except to thank those who had supported her and Mr Van Gelder, and "wish the club all the best".

The ousting is the result of a botched attempt to relocate the RSL Club from its Mary St home to the Gympie Pines Golf Course.

Investigations into this move reportedly cost the club $295,000, a figure which left many members miffed.

Concerns were also raised over a $300,000 drop in gaming revenue last year.

In the lead-up to the meeting Mr Van Gelder defended the board's achievements.

 

Doug Van Gelder RSL club board member.
Doug Van Gelder. Renee Albrecht

He said the golf course move was "the only blemish" on their record, and pointed to large increases in cash reserves, net assets, and membership.

Until the new members are appointed, only three positions are filled on the club's board by sub-branch members who were elected in June.

While this means the club is unable to hold meetings, Mr Birkenhead said he would be working closely with the club's manager to ensure business stayed as usual.

And it was important not to lose sight of that Mr Birkenhead said, with more than 6800 of the club's membership not at the meeting and likely uninterested in club politics.