Pokies out! Gym and swimming in

July 29, 2020 by Henry Benjamin
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At this week’s AGM of the much-awaited Hakoah Club in White City, president Steven Lowy told attendees on Zoom that the fitness and Wellness centre are expected to be the main source of revenue.

Artist’s impression

Terms have agreed with the future operators of the centre and a Learn to Swim facility which will contribute handsomely to an annual surplus between $2.5m and $4m.

The club still has entitlements for 18 pokie machines having sold the bulk of them. As much as they were popular in the old club in Hall St in Bondi, Director of Community Engagement Gary Samowitz told J-Wire: “We don’t want to have gambling at the new Hakoah.”

When a club gets down to its last 10 machines, they cannot sell them unless they get members’ approval.

Last night, the members voted that the final 18 machines could be sold.

In the Hall St premises, Hakoah had 151 machines operating.

The president reported that $40 million of the $60 million needed for the project had been raised by the end of February but fund-raising is on hold due to COVID.

Steven Lowy said: “Whilst COVID- 19 has thrown a spanner in the works in terms of timing, we feel as optimistic as ever about making the dream of Hakoah at White City a reality in order to preserve and strengthen Jewish identity for current and future generations of our community.”

He outlined the developments over the last 12 months.

He told attendees of the Zoom that there had been eight visits to Jewish community centres around the world and had made contact with seven more to assess their pluses and minuses.

1700 community members had been surveyed saying “96% of people who responded agreed that we need a place where we can come together as a community and feel that sense of togetherness. What was particularly reassuring was that young adults were as keen as older people.”

Steven Lowy

The detailed development application was lodged in December 2019 and the club awaits its outcome.

The tender process for the construction has now been concluded and Lowy said that contracts with a suitable builder will be finalised “in the near future”…as long as the tender is within budget.

Steven Lowy finished his address by saying: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19 we remain on track to make this dream of Hakoah at White City a reality. The original target date was to begin building in the fourth quarter of 2020.

This has now been delayed by around six months are we are hopeful to complete all our conditions precedent in the first half of 2021. If this occurs we will be in a position to begin building shortly thereafter, with a view to completion around the middle of 2023.

We are a responsible Board and will be very mindful of the conditions at the time in making that go forward decision.”

Artist’s impression

Earlier, he thanked those who had brought the project to today’s position.

He said: “Five new directors working closely with 3 existing directors and the Development Committee, co-chaired by Phillip Wolanski and Allen Linz, made enormous strides during the year. Much credit needs to be given to Rob Woolf, consulting Project Director, and Gary Samowitz, consulting Director of Community Engagement. Thanks also to Pam Lewin, Hakoah’s Secretary. This is the entire Hakoah team – a small but hugely dedicated group of individuals.”

The meeting also heard that Gold Star memberships will re recognised at the new club.


4 Responses to “Pokies out! Gym and swimming in”
  1. Tim Falkiner says:

    Excellent news that you are doing your best to rid yourself of the pokies. They are idolatry of the worst kind. Isaiah 65:11,12: “But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny”. (Gad, Meni, Tyche, Fortuna, all were gods or demi-gods characterizing chance, luck or destiny.) I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”

  2. Prof Diana Olsberg says:

    I do think that having Gold Star Membership is an inappropriate and insensitive name. How about Most Valued Supporter. We must be able to find a more appropriate nomenclature. I wasn’t invited to the zoom AGM but I do think it is naive to completely do away with the last 18 poker machines. In unity Diana

  3. Eva kiss dayan says:

    This will be a white elephant in an era when the Jewish community is already having to address daily reported anti Semitic acts. Membership will be low eg the Jewish ski clubs expensive and a huge security risk. Money would be much better spent offering Jewish school scholarships.

  4. Adrian Jackson says:

    Pokies are evil, good decision to get rid of them.

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