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Tears at Cossie Club closure

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

The cash-strapped Masterton Cosmopolitan Club is to close its doors for the final time at the end of December.

The decision was made by members at a special meeting on Sunday and was confirmed yesterday by president Bruce Alderson.

“It basically just came down to finances,” he said.

“We have been struggling for a number of years and it’s come down to this.”

“For about five years it’s slowly been getting harder and harder to make ends meet. It’s a big building and outgoing costs are greater than what is coming in.”

Mr Alderson said tears were shed at the meeting, both by members and club staff who would be losing their jobs.

Established in 1972, Mr Alderson remembers the club in its heyday.

“There were 1800 members at its peak, in the mid-1980s, now we are down to about 500.

“I remember three bands were playing at one time, the place was packed and unless you were in early you wouldn’t get a seat.”

Factors leading to the club’s imminent closure included the decline in membership, stricter drink-driving laws, and an aging population.

“We have an average age of about 69 and the members aren’t drinking like they used to 20 years ago.

“We’re not getting younger people in to replace those who are leaving or getting older.

“Younger people just don’t seem to want to join these sorts of places anymore.”

Mr Alderson said the size of the club meant power bills were “phenomenal”, and much of the building was not used.

Established in 1972, the club is closing its doors at the end of the year. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Established in 1972, the club is closing its doors at the end of the year. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

He said the struggle really started after a redevelopment of the front of the club that included a cafe and a deck, which essentially “blew the nest egg”.

Considerable cost-cutting has recently been undertaken and last year a debenture scheme was launched to prop up the club.

Earlier this year a steering committee was formed to look at alternative, more affordable premises to which the club could move.

“Some were just too expensive, some needed too much work done to bring them up to what we needed.

“We came down to one building, but due to finances… at the meeting we put a motion forward to close the Cossie Club.”

Lands Trust Masterton, which owns the site, took ownership of the building earlier this year to clear some of the club’s debt.

The club’s assets, such as the snooker tables, will be sold off or auctioned, with the proceeds repaying debenture holders and “hopefully” clearing the remaining debt.

Mr Alderson said December 27 would be the Cossie Club’s 40-year anniversary on the Queen St site.

“It’s been a long time, with a lot of memories. A lot of people have gone through here.

“A lot of people are going to be disappointed,” he said.

A final closure date has not been set.

10 COMMENTS

  1. As an outsider visiting for the last 6 years for our masters snooker tournament I found the members very welcoming.Bar staff & management were very accommodating & efficiant. I would of judged the club
    8 out of 10.Unfortunately it is a sign of the times.You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.Sad to see it close.

  2. Blenheim clubs amagamation solve the problem of falling membership, staff pilfering, unsound governance and ineffective financial management. They have a purpose built building and recently added a theatre and have young and older member.
    You cant tell me that the other two clubs are not struggling with the some of the same problems.

  3. Sorry to see it go, but not surprised. Needed younger members with families bet little to tempt them.
    Too many old people who didn’t spend any money.
    Used to enjoy a game of pool and a few beers on a Saturday afternoon with young family.
    Always felt kids were tolerated rather than welcomed.
    Sorry for Leanne who has tried really hard and been excellent

  4. The youth of today do not have a view of alcohol consumption quite the same as previous generations,pub culture has been lost due to more than just internet,binge drinking is a large problem and contributes to many issues youth face today,being made to responsibly consume alcohol is not their ideal and if it was the younger folks you wanted perhaps providing entertainment that was more to their taste would be a fine start unfortunately that horse has bolted,shame really we could do with more community

  5. Many reasons why this club failed.My opinion in no particular order.
    1/ Just got too big
    2/Too many members did not drink but came to the money draws.
    3/When free cheese was given out as nibbles the above people filled their pockets and went home.
    4/[…] scandal among the top executive
    5/Stopping the oldies from bringing a plate to their dance.
    6/Raising the dining area to same height as the stage,hence loud music went over the dancers straight into them…loud noise complaints.
    7/Closing of the downstairs,a lot of the oldies liked to listen and watch from the upstairs.
    8 /Allowing 1 member to sign in as many people as they like..6 people could bring their non member families and leave no room for the true members.
    I could go on and on….it was a pretty clique club.but It was on the whole a terrific club.Management and commitee have to take most of the blame in the latter years.When it was managed by Bob Walker with Head Barman Graeme Gibbs it was totally awesome ,could not move in the place,AND PLENTY OF YOUNG ONES.
    This is very sad news to me, it really was like a 2nd home to me….Kevy Ebert

  6. It’s rather sad of this closure. Many organizations unfortunately have closed their doors in finality due to same issues….the young really assuming more private andmoreinternet existences

  7. I’m not surprised they struggled to get new members. As young fellas visiting there in the 80’s (and very well behaved I might add) the hard core members were anything but welcoming to us on every occasion we were invited in. Put us off for life!!! They forgot we were the future of the club.

  8. If they made the club more appealing to the younger population they may use it. Look at the Upper Hutt Cassie they have good younger people patronage.

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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