RSA still look­ing for a new home

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Lau­rilee McMichael

The Taupo¯ RSA is alive and kick­ing, and still look­ing for a new home.

Richard Cairns of the RSA Board of Man­age­ment says although the RSA ceased its bar, restau­rant and gam­ing last week, it is con­tin­u­ing with its pri­mary func­tion of de­liv­er­ing wel­fare for re­turned and served per­son­nel. Its of­fice is open daily and the tele­phone num­bers and email ad­dress re­main the same.

How­ever the RSA’s clu­b­rooms had closed for the fore­see­able fu­ture be­cause de­spite best en­deav­ours to turn it into a prof­itable op­er­a­tion, it was still trad­ing at a loss and that could not con­tinue, he said.

“The restau­rant was in the black but over­all we were still in a trad­ing deficit month on month and we [the Board of Man­age­ment] were no longer will­ing to ac­cept help from the RSA Trust.”

The RSA is split into two en­ti­ties, Taupo¯ RSA Trust which owns the RSA land and build­ings in Horo­matangi St, and Taupo¯ RSA Inc which leases the build­ing from the Trust and op­er­ates the RSA. Its af­fairs are man­aged by a twop­er­son Board of Man­age­ment.

Five staff lost their jobs when the RSA Inc stopped trad­ing but they had been given a month’s paid no­tice and be­cause bar and restau­rant staff were in de­mand Mr Cairns said the board was re­lieved the staff should find new jobs with­out much dif­fi­culty.

The build­ing was sold months ago and set­tle­ment is due in De­cem­ber. The clu­b­rooms chat­tels will also be sold.

Mr Cairns said the RSA Board of Man­age­ment was still search­ing for a new lo­ca­tion for its clu­b­rooms and was keen to colo­cate with an­other club if pos­si­ble. Ear­lier this year it tried, but failed, to strike a co-lo­ca­tion deal with the Taupo¯ Bowls Club and more re­cently it was ap­proached by the Taupo¯ Golf Club but the pro­posal did not go any fur­ther.

He said ev­i­dence showed stand­alone trad­ing clubs strug­gled to sur­vive, so it was keen to colo­cate, prefer­ably in a place that also at­tracted pass­ing trade. With op­tions for the cul­tural precinct project on the Ton­gariro Do­main cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered, it was re­fo­cus­ing its at­ten­tion to the Ton­gariro Do­main.

The RSA is keen on a clubs hub, where two or more clubs op­er­ate out of a shared premises, as has al­ready been suc­cess­fully done in Marl­bor­ough and Hast­ings and Mr Cairns said the RSA would like to see a clubs hub in­cluded in the cul­tural precinct plans. The RSA Trust is as­set-rich and would be able to in­vest sig­nif­i­cant money into a shared build­ing to make it suit­able for hos­pi­tal­ity, he said. It would also keep its pres­ence in a shared build­ing low-key.

In the mean­time, the RSA was look­ing to at­tract the next gen­er­a­tion of re­turned and ser­vice mem­bers — those who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Ti­mor — and would con­tinue to pro­vide a so­cial en­vi­ron­ment for its mem­bers, per­haps by hir­ing a venue for a reg­u­lar so­cial evening.

Mr Cairns said while the de­ci­sion to stop trad­ing was dis­ap­point­ing it was not the end for the club.

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