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Rugby HQ: The Wakatipu Rugby Club says if Queenstown's council changed the design of a proposed intersection, its clubrooms wouldn't need to be demolished

By GUY WILLIAMS

The Wakatipu Rugby Club expects a ‘‘readymade replacement’’ for its Queenstown CBD clubrooms should they get bowled to make way for the second stage of an arterial bypass road.

In a submission to an Environmental Protection Agency consenting panel, club secretary Gavin Bartlett says members would prefer any new clubrooms to be built on the north-western side of the Rec Ground, and they expect it operating before the existing clubrooms are closed.

Queenstown’s council has applied for fast-tracked resource consent for the road under a Covid-19 recovery statute, with preliminary engineering plans showing the road passing through the clubrooms, squash club and Queenstown Memorial Centre.

Work on the first stage of the road’s expected to start in July, with the second stage following some time after 2027.

The council’s promised the Memorial Centre won’t be demolished until a replacement’s found, while a new squash facility is planned for the Events Centre in Frankton.

But rugby club members are worried about the fate of their head quarters, built in 1974, which sits on land it leases from the council.

The club’s submission says the design for the intersection of Gorge Road and Shotover and Henry streets should be changed to a single four-arm intersection, thus removing the need to demolish any of the buildings.

The clubrooms’ existing location is best because of its proximity to the CBD and its sunny aspect, it says.

A 2017 council brochure shows clubrooms on the opposite side of the Rec Ground, but Bartlett says ‘‘nothing of substance’’ has been presented to the club.

Should rugby be suspended at the Rec Ground during the road’s construction, the council has talked about providing an alternative match venue, he says.

But that would result in ‘‘a disconnect ion from our support base and the loss of patrons from the club after-matches, severely affecting the club’s revenue and operations’’.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz