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Work has got under way on a former car park at Halswell Domain, more than a decade after the original clubrooms were damaged by the earthquakes.
Protracted discussions with the club’s insurance company delayed the start of the multi-purpose building, while the eventual payout still left a $400,000 shortfall.
“If they hadn’t come on board to help we basically couldn’t have got a loan or refinance to pay the loan back to build the clubrooms,” Whittaker said.
He hoped the new clubrooms, which will also be utilised by softball, touch rugby and possibly netball, should be completed by Christmas or the New Year.
When the new building is ready the original must be demolished.
In the interim the Hornets also had to build a storage room/gym and changing sheds at the Domain, costs that diminished the insurance payout.
“It’s been quite sad in one way,” Whittaker said.
“We were totally freehold, we were insured. Then it was costing $20,000 (a year) to insure the clubrooms, storage and changing sheds. We were basically nearly going broke as a voluntary organisation that was pretty much only open Saturday afternoon’s after footy.”
He credited devoted club members for raising the funds to cover those costs.
“The old brigade, our life members have worked their butts off to raise funds to get the clubrooms up and running,” he said.
“They were running raffles on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the (Craythornes) Halswell Tavern (Craythornes) and doing barbecues just to raise enough money to pay the insurance.”
Whittaker hoped the new clubrooms would be used throughout the week by sporting and community organisations.
“We want the community to be part of it. It’ll be a big project once it’s up and running to see what we can do that way.”