After 17 years at the helm of the Laurieton United Services Club's board of directors and 23 years on the board all-told, president Wayne Poll is taking a well-earned retirement.
In that time the club has undergone significant renovations, purchased adjoining properties for future expansion and amalgamated with the golf and bowling club at Kew.
In 2000, Wayne said, the club was in debt, tired and on the verge of having to amalgamate with Newcastle Wests Club.
He paid tribute to secretary manager Robert Dwyer.
"Robert became the secretary manager at the same time I became president. The key to our success has been the strong working relationship of the board and management team," Wayne said.
"There was no restriction on anybody, all ideas were put on the table and that openness worked well.
"The first big challenge was to get ourselves into a good financial position then sensibly renovate the club in stages. Back in 2000, the club wasn't even air-conditioned. That's something we take for granted now in every major building."
Club industry changes have also impacted local clubs; one of the most significant was the government's ban on smoking in all indoor areas and most outdoor areas.
"Gone are the days when you walked into the sports bar, for example, and you can't see your mates because of the smoke," Wayne said.
The challenge for clubs was to provide comfortable areas for their smoking patrons, while maintaining the club's financial strength, the profits of which are put back into the community.
Financial responsibility was a key component of Wayne's leadership, said secretary manager Robert Dwyer.
"In 2007 we began the significant renovations of the club, but not before we retired our debt. We renovated the Tarcoola auditorium at that time. Then in 2009 we amalgamated with the Kew golf and bowling club," he said.
Wayne said the amalgamation was undertaken "to keep a great community asset in community hands."
The course was enhanced a new bowling green installed and the name changed to the Kew Country Club. This represented a $1.4 million investment in Kew.
Change has also prompted the club to diversify income streams.
The club is currently planning the development of independent living units in Lake Street, next door to the LUSC.
"The days of relying on gaming revenue as the club's major income source are gone," Wayne said.
"While the unit development will be the next big thing, we've also diversified within the club. We've redesigned the bar area and established a cafe for the growing number of coffee connoisseurs. We rebuilt the wharf on the river and provided facilities for the boating and fishing community. We are a big supporter of sporting clubs in the Camden Haven. Working and supporting the community is what we are all about and that's probably been the most satisfying part of serving on the board."
There are two casual vacancies available on the LUSC and KCC board of directors. Contact the Laurieton United Services Club to find out how you can contribute.