Katoomba RSL Club will open its doors on June 23, but the doors of its smaller club, Wentworth Falls Bowling Club which has been running since the Great Depression, will not. In an email to members on June 15, the club advised that COVID-19 and some earlier financial losses, meant Wentworth Falls Bowling Club would not be reopening and that Katoomba RSL was in the early stages of seeking to amalgamate it with another registered club. The statement said Board members recently met with the bowling club executive and blamed the severe impact of the loss of trade and future trading due to COVID-19, substantial losses by the bowling club since it was acquired in 1993, and the current financial needs relating to the total rebuild of Katoomba RSL. The site is owned by Katoomba RSL and according to council is zoned RE2 - private recreation. Residential accommodation, including residential flat buildings and multi-dwelling housing, is prohibited in the RE2 zone. Wentworth Falls Bowling Club president Simon Christie said it was "disappointing" but not unexpected. "We were told many years ago at an annual general meeting before the RSL burnt down [in February 2017] that it was a disposal asset." Some members were upset that the bowling club had kept the "mother club" going after the fire, making the bowling club a "lifeboat" for the RSL, he said. "When the RSL burnt down, this was the only premises to entertain the members, now with the RSL rebuilt, they've gone with their original intentions. There certainly is a lot of debate about the bowling club being used as a lifeboat," he added. The club opened in 1933. There are 40 bowling members and the club has 16 poker machines, Mr Christie said. He said the bowlers were hopeful the Board's negotiations would be successful with larger groups like Panthers and Mingara successfully taking over other bowling clubs in the Lower Mountains. Mr Christie said the RSL did invest in a new building at Wentworth Falls in 1997/1998 and he understood the Wentworth Falls club had been a loss maker for two decades.The news follows the loss of Blackheath and Katoomba bowling clubs which the RSL had acquired and later sold off. Katoomba RSL president Brian Turner said there would be no job losses. "At this stage, the club is simply inviting Expressions of Interest from other registered clubs with a view to retaining a registered club with a bowling facility at Wentworth Falls," he said. The board's statement said that to "continue without acting is unsustainable" and it recognised the club was "an integral part of community life and earnestly wishes that this continues to be the case for years to come". "In seeking to amalgamate Wentworth Falls Bowling Club with another registered club the Board of Katoomba RSL All Services Club is moving in a direction to ensure its continued community presence into the future." The community has bemoaned the loss of "the last bowling green in the Upper Mountains". The RSL "wanted to close the bowling [club] for years," Leonie Hewitt said. "It will be just like all the other clubs the RSL has taken over, they have all been closed down, the members are not stupid, if there hadn't been a fire at Katoomba, we all know the bowling club was earmarked to be closed". Another Michael Whyte asked whether the statement was "code for we will shortly be selling the site of your popular club to a developer to build units?" Tracy Barraclough said the bowling club "sustained membership and guests in the absence of the Katoomba RSL whilst rebuilding took place. It has a thriving bowling team, that engages all sorts from many walks of life. Surely it is in the best interests of resale and community support to reopen." One club member, Rebecca Lang, bemoaned the loss. "Goodbye best steaks in the Mountains. My local club is 'amalgamating'. Maybe. No more convivial Aussie hospitality (or jobs) to be had at the Wentworth Falls Bowling Club. Seems COVID-19 and ongoing poor financials have sealed the deal. I guess it will be sold off for some ugly development. It's sad seeing the favourite haunts of the 'old Mountains' retreating and disappearing." But another community member, Rodney Crean, called a potential 'takeover' of the small club as "the best move possible from the RSL to keep Wenty alive".