Support the Guardian

Available for everyone, funded by readers

Step forward for Rakaia rec centre

Step forward for Rakaia rec centre
The current facilities at the Rakaia Domain are set to make way for a new Rakaia Recreation Centre. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/ASHBURTON GUARDIAN. 

Finishing touches are being made to the designs for the new Rakaia Recreation Centre before the project goes out for tender next month.

Rakaia rugby club's past president Mark Hanrahan says things are finally set to go from concept to concrete, to community centre.

“Next year will be a big year for our club and the Rakaia community,” Hanrahan said.

The club is preparing to tear down the out-of-date changing room facility in the Rakaia Domain and replace it with a fit-for-purpose building with clubrooms, changing sheds, and public toilets.

The club has been fundraising for 10 years towards the project and is close to reaching an initial target for a ballpark figure for the build, “but we won’t know the total cost of the project until we find out the final price”.

The construction timeline is also unknown, he said.

“In an ideal world, it would be ready for the next rugby season but it’s a maybe, and it really won’t matter.”

The club already sold the clubrooms that were on the other side of town and has been utilising the neighbouring Rakaia Bowling Club as temporary clubrooms for the last two seasons, Hanrahan said. That arrangement can continue until the new facility is completed.

As part of the project, the Ashburton District Council is funding the replacement public toilets in the new facility, as the current public toilets are part of the existing facility that will be demolished.

It committed $351,000 towards the toilets in the 2022-23 annual plan, and will likely carry that forward to the 2023-24 budgets to cover its portion of the build.

Acting chief executive Jane Donaldson said the council has already procured the prefabricated toilet block which is to be incorporated into the facility.

The council committed to funding the toilets in June last year and at that point in time the rugby club had initially hoped to have the project completed by now.

Things didn’t quite pan out that way but the silver lining was another 12 months to fundraise, Hanrahan said.

With the project now set to go out for tender, the Rakaia Domain is set to finally have its new facility.

Back in 2015, the Rakaia Stadium Trust had pitched to the council to back a new sports complex at the Rakaia Domain, but as the EA Networks Centre was readying to open the council balked at the $1.5m funding request towards the estimated $5m proposed facility.

The new Rakaia Recreation Centre is a rugby club-led project but will be a community facility, Hanrahan said.

By Jonathan Leask