Coolum Bridge Club has no home

Coolum Bridge Club members Pat Terrace and Ines Dawes would like to build a clubhouse at Jack Morgan Park.
Coolum Bridge Club members Pat Terrace and Ines Dawes would like to build a clubhouse at Jack Morgan Park. Mike Garry

THE Coolum Bridge Club reckons it has been dealt a bad hand.

For nine years the club has been trying to find a permanent home for members to socialise and enjoy their bridge.

Since the club formed about 15 years ago, it has had a transient existence, moving from the old girl guides hut, now the Lions clubhouse, in Russell Street to the Coolum Hotel, the Uniting Church, the Peregian Bowls Club and on to its current “home” at Coolum Waters Retirement Resort.

For the past few years, the club has been paying about $4000 a year to use the hall at the resort but club member Ines Dawes, who has been charged with finding the club a permanent home, said resort owner Sundale now wants the bridge club to move out by December.

“We've nowhere to go,” she said.

“We would even be willing to pay the council some money for some land if they lease it back to us. We're not asking for a freebie.”

Ms Dawes said members were “punch drunk” from battling with councils over the years.

She hoped that following amalgamation, with a new council and new councillor Vivien Griffin, that the club, with almost 200 members, might get somewhere.

“Considering that we have waited nine years, and been jerked around rather a lot, I would have thought that we would get some sort of priority,” she said.

The club had been hopeful that space could be found in Jack Morgan Park.

In 2005, longtime resident Nancy Morgan, whose father-in-law Jack Morgan donated the land now known as Jack Morgan Park, wrote a letter in support of the bridge club using part of the park for its clubhouse.

“It seems to me that at least some of the remaining space could be deployed for the construction of a bridge club, which would present the community at large with another hall-type venue,” Ms Morgan wrote.

But the architect coordinating the Coolum Streetscape Master Plan advised last month she could not support the bridge club in Jack Morgan Park because the building required would be too big, “leaving very little green open space”.

Other issues included parking and the club's preference for tables and chairs to be permanently set up.

Ms Dawes said the club provided a community service.

“It is somewhere for older people, widows and widowers, to go and have some sort of communication with the outside world,” she said.

“Where can you go and have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, a sandwich and a cake and play bridge for four hours, to keep your brain going, for $4?”

Council's Active and Healthy Communities manager Charlie Eames said the council was trying to help the club's short-term and long-term situations.

“We're trying to negotiate with Sundale for the club to be able to stay there until they get a new site,” he said.

“In the meantime, we're still looking for land for them.”

'Where can you go and have a cup of coffee ... a sandwich and a cake and play bridge for four hours for $4?'

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