I am a member of the 1580 strong Castlemaine Sports and Community Club, the “tiny minority” referred to by Douglas Ralph in his letter of February 20.
Our members are 90 per cent local and are genuine. I challenge Mr Ralph to produce proof of the similar status of EPIC membership.
In any event, the words written by Mr Ralph are precisely the sort of thing that has inflamed feelings in our town and caused the toxic division that truly exists.
On what does he base his joyous view of the VCAT decision to deny Castlemaine its Community Club?
Is it the loss of 30 plus full-time jobs?
Is it the loss of $4 million being spent to develop a derelict eyesore into a great town amenity?
Maybe it’s the fact that locals will continue to spend millions a year at clubs and stores outside the town?
Or is it that all club profits will be distributed in the community?
Perhaps it’s the fact that the Cumberland Hotel will remain a privileged monopoly, or the Theatre Royal will remain safe from the 10 per cent revenue loss it feared?
Is it denying numerous older people a club, where they can relax and enjoy good company, or a pleasant place for everyone to share young and old?
Or does he enjoy the dreadful division that EPIC, and supportive council staff and (then) compliant councillors, created in the town?
Maybe it’s even EPIC’s recent dream of creating a giant coffee shop and elite cafe in the derelict goods shed?
EPIC chose to turn the recent council elections into a referendum on the club. Their preferred candidate gained a mere 680 votes, so don’t talk of majorities Mr Ralph.
As long as there is a Castlemaine Sports and Community Club, the fight will not go away. We will not be told what we can or cannot do. We lost a battle but not the war.