Edenhope Apsley votes down merger idea

Edenhope Apsley’s football and netball club has voted against merging with neighbouring club Border Districts at a members meeting. 

The vote was the first time the club had gone to a members vote after about five years of speculation regarding a possible merger. 

The issue of the merger resurfaced on the eve of this season but failed to eventuate between the two clubs. 

The proposed merger with Border Districts would have seen the new club compete in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League.

Out of 258 eligible voters, 194 members voted in the EA club vote. 

Edenhope Apsley president Carolyn Middleton said it was an overwhelming vote against merging. 

“We had 78% of people voting not to merge,” she said.

“It was a straight vote, there were no speeches. There was a lot happening in the community on the night, but we had a great turnout with 75% of our voting members there.”

Ms Middleton said volunteers had rallied behind the club after an uncertain start to the season.

“The feeling around the club prior to our senior football and A grade finals success was a positive one,” she said.

“We had plenty of volunteers who were willing to work a bit harder to sustain that club as it is.

“It was from the word go when talks of mergers rose that people wanted to help keep the club united as it is.

“We have had positive feedback from people finishing our season and looking forward to 2019. Support hasn’t dropped at all and we are on a good track at the moment.”

Ms Middleton said the club members had wanted ongoing talks of a merger to be decided on after five years of discussions. 

“When we had our community meeting a couple months ago it was decided that we needed to go to a vote,” she said.

“It’s been five years and we hadn’t gone to a vote in that time.

“People wanted that definitive answer, on both sides of the story, whether it was merging or not merging.

“We didn’t want the speculation that we were an unstable club.”

Ms Middleton said the club wants to stay in the Horsham District league moving forward. 

“Borders had said they would not come over to the Horsham District league, so their proposal was to merge and go to the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League,” she said.

“They have always stated their position and their vote, and they couldn’t go back on their vote.

“We like the league we are in, we are comfortable and we are obviously competitive in both football and netball.

“Everyone has decided this is the league we are comfortable in at the moment.”

Border Districts have not made their plans clear for season 2019 at this stage.