A retired professional cyclist plans to re-open the former City Family Hotel and use funds from poker machines to benefit the cycling community.
Ross Forster will open Goldfields Cycle Sport as a not-for-profit sporting organisation in August.
Profits will fund resources for the central Victorian race, recreational and commuter cycling communities, and could include youth development, promotion and talent identification.
Mr Forster saw the opportunity to re-brand the hotel and establish his not-for-profit soon after the City Family Hotel closed its doors in early September, 2017.
Goldfields Cycle Sport was registered as an incorporated association on September 12, 2017.
“I had heard it was going to close and knew the opportunity to re-brand it a club rather than a pub was there and that's the route we followed,” he said.
“The pokies and the cafe are what's going to fund the whole thing. These are pre-existing (poker machines licences). We're not doing anything different. It's the same amount of machines in the same location.
“This benefits the cycling community instead of going into someone else's back pocket.”
Mr Forster said to ear mark funds to specific projects at this point was premature.
“The first thing we have to do is make some money. It's been a huge expense to re-open (the building),’’ he said.
“We've got some obvious challenges like the fact it's been closed for 12 months. I’m not expecting to make a bean, we'll probably lose money in the first (year).”
Mr Forster said Goldfields Cycle Sport at the City Family will have a very different feel when it re-opens in August.
“We’re going to make it a really themed cycling cafe with big screen TVs and memorabilia,” he said.
“This area is huge for cycling. I thought it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“I know it was a good business before. Why it was closed, I don't know. It’s such an iconic building in Bendigo, to be honest if we didn’t go in there it would sit dormant like a lot of other places in the CBD.”
Architect William Vahland designed the City Family Hotel which was completed in 1872.
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