Future of gymnasium and bowling club up in the air

Rhythmic gymnasts train at the Caledonian Gymnasium on Andersons Bay Rd last week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Rhythmic gymnasts train at the Caledonian Gymnasium on Andersons Bay Rd last week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The future of Dunedin's Caledonian Gymnasium and Bowling Club and the city council's support for gymnastics in the city is to be considered by councillors.

Any decisions, however, are unlikely to take effect in the next financial year.

The issue of the Andersons Bay Rd gymnasium's future was raised by the Dunedin Gymnastic Academy (DGA) during last year's annual planning round.

The DGA says the ageing facility does not meet modern recreation expectations and limits growth in their sport.

It also questions whether the location of the gymnasium in an area of significant commercial growth is any longer appropriate.

A report to councillors considering the 2013-14 budget recommends councillors approve further staff investigations into several options.

They are: retaining the status quo, which requires about $80,000 investment over the 30 years of the building's remaining useful life and $250,000-$300,000 in the next two to three years to keep the facility going at its current level of service; sell the land of the gymnasium and/or the next door bowling club and realise about $2.5 to $3 million; redevelop, in two stages, the current gymnasium for about $4.3 million; or sell the land and build a new purpose-built facility in the Ice Stadium car park in Victoria Rd, also for about $4.3 million.

In the scenarios that require sale of the bowling club land, valued at about $1.5 million, the 32 members would have to find new clubs to play for.

The redevelopment option would involve initially improving the standard of the building at a cost of about $1.8 million.

A second stage in five to 10 years' time would double the floor space and include an underground car park.

The total cost could also be increased, as it is listed as an earthquake-prone building and requires a structural assessment before July next year.

The report informed councillors that before DGA could begin to fundraise for new facilities, a decision needed to be made about the future of the Caledonian sports hub and what support, if any, could be expected from the council.

DGA could raise $1.8 million over two to three years, but if it needed to raise the full cost of an upgrade or new facility, that would take up to 10 years.

Staff advised council support could be in principle, by supporting the development and renewal of existing building, through the provision of a green field space for a new facility, and/or making a capital contribution from the sale of the gymnasium or bowling club.

There is no funding in the draft annual plan for gymnastics facility improvement.

A commitment from council around the preferred direction was sought, the report said.

Further investigations would then take place and staff would report back to the Community Development Committee in September, with any implications to be considered as part of the 2014-15 annual plan process if appropriate.debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

Future of the Caledonian

I would like to see the Caledonian regarded as a complementary gymnasium - which fills in the areas that are not catered for - elsewhere. Besides gymnastics, it is also currently used by a Table Tennis club - and it will be good to see more and more people get back into sports participation because it should be a growing area because of how essential it is for one's good health - an easy way to get regular exercise.

The other sport that was played at the Caledonian was volleyball, which is another suitable sport for people to get back into - that is not as vigorous as the various running sports. Anyway I have noted how very little has been spent on the Caledonian thus far, and is long overdue for any kind of upgrade. I was told that when it was opened, there was a lift working, which would enable a wheelchair person access to the gymnasium - but that has long gone, and is missing . . .



One of Dunedin's more interesting 'modern' buildings. I hope someone will lay out the design history here, as well as the social history associated with the name 'Caledonian'. I hope it can be retained as a recreational facility or sympathetically adapted for new use. It's too good to lose.

Great site for temporary library

As library services get more and more in demand, especially for those who cannot afford their own computing equipment, this would make an excellent site to create a US-style temporary library until we can afford a purpose-built one. 

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