Rugby clubs fear for viability

Kaikorai Rugby Football Club treasurer Tony Chave is worried changes proposed in Dunedin’s  next...
Kaikorai Rugby Football Club treasurer Tony Chave is worried changes proposed in Dunedin’s next-generation plan could affect the viability of his club. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

Dunedin rugby clubs fear changes mooted in the city's next-generation plan could put their and other sports clubs' financial futures in doubt.

Representatives from Kaikorai and Dunedin rugby clubs yesterday told the six-member 2GP district plan hearings panel they were worried the plan would limit their ability to hire out their facilities for events, which was an important source of income for some sports clubs.

The changes were proposed as part of the introduction of recreational zoning in the Dunedin City Council's 2GP.

The changes could require sports clubs to apply for resource consent when they hire out their facilities for events not related to sport.

Speaking during and after the hearing, Kaikorai Rugby Football Club treasurer Tony Chave said this would create extra work and complications for the clubs and put an important revenue source in doubt.

When he took up his position in 2008 the club was in a dire financial position and being able to hire out its clubrooms helped change its fortunes and continued to provide a vital source of income, Mr Chave said.

This was particularly true in the summer months when the clubrooms were largely unused.

The changes proposed in the 2GP came as a shock to him and he believed it would affect other clubs, too.

In response to the clubs' concerns, council policy planner Jacinda Baker suggested in a report tabled at the hearing that hiring out sports and recreation facilities for conference, meetings and functions could be relaxed from a non-complying to discretionary activity.

Ms Baker argued against making such events a permitted activity.

"While I recognise that clubs do hire out their clubrooms for these types of activities, I consider that these are only appropriate where they are a minor component of the club's activities and, if occurring at a commercial scale or frequency, I consider that they are more appropriate to be located within the commercial and mixed-use zones.''

Allowing clubs to hire their facilities had the potential to affect neighbours.

She said her position was supported by the 39 noise complaints received by the council between 2000 and 2015 relating to five rugby and football clubs having late-night functions.

She also rejected arguments the sale of alcohol should be a permitted, rather than a discretionary, activity in the plan.

Willowridge Developments Ltd general manager of planning and development Alison Devlin spoke on behalf of the Dunedin Rugby Football Club and shared many of Mr Chave's concerns.

She was disappointed clubs had not been specifically targeted as part of 2GP consultation considering the potential impact of the changes.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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