Club 'snookered' after flood

17th July 2017 5:30 AM
Lismore Workers Club committee member Danny Waldock is waiting with 60 fellow players to find a new snooker home. Lismore Workers Club committee member Danny Waldock is waiting with 60 fellow players to find a new snooker home. Marc Stapelberg

IT SEEMS very few in our community were left unscathed by the muddy brown water that covered the city centre in Lismore.

One community which has been left to pick up the pieces is the Far North Coast snooker players who lost four tables at the Lismore Workers Club.

Lismore Workers Snooker Club committee member Jeff Lawn said the club's value to snooker players in the area could not be underestimated with more than 60 members in Lismore, but a broader community of 200 tournament players from Ballina, Banora and Casino.

He said people were willing to travel a 150km for a one day tournament, or from Newcastle or Brisbane for whole weekend tournaments, and it was widely considered that the Lismore Workers Club snooker room was the best on the Far North Coast.

Mr Lawn said the club had been left in limbo as they waited to see what possibility there would be to get four new tables.

"I first thought about them smack in the middle of the flood," he said.

"I had gone down to Danny, because he lives in a flood zone, to help him get stuff up and I jumped in a kayak to go and have a look.

"When I got out the front of the Workers Club I could see the height of the water.

"I didn't think it would go that deep.

"They went completely under.

"Probably about 4 inches above the table."

The Lismore Workers Club General Manager Stephen Bortolin said the tables were totally submerged and they couldn't be repaired.

"At this stage we are not looking to replacing the tables at least not in the near future," Mr Bortolin said.

"We've had to reconfigure the entire ground level to accommodate other facilities for members.

"The flood totally devastated the ground floor."

He said the rebuild should be completed by the end of September. Snooker players are struggling for venues that can hold tournaments as Casino only has two tables and Banora point only has three, while Ballina RSL didn't have a table since May 2016 due to renovations.

"It would be an absolute shame to lose the location as a result of an unforeseen event, but unfortunately these things happen in Lismore," Mr Lawn said.

"Without question the Lismore Workers Club snooker room was wildly regarded as the best on the Far North Coast," he said.

"At this stage we are not looking to fade away.

"We still want to be active.

"We are not the kind of people that give up on the game.

"We are going to look for an alternative for at least the next three years."

Mr Lawn said they were looking at a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for new tables and appealed to the broader community for any assistance they might be able to provide whether it be a venue or tables.

Mr Lawn said there was no way the Workers Club had the opportunity to move the tables before the flood as it took four people three days to dismantle the tables.

They worked for seven hours a day to get them out of the Workers Club so builders could come in and start repairs.

"Each table weighs roughly 1000kg with an 800 kilogram multi-piece slate in them."