RSA rumour harmful
It has been a feature of the Pt Chevalier community for 80 years.
And those at the helm of the Pt Chevalier Memorial RSA say it will continue to be a fixture for years to come.
Persistent rumours of the RSA's demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to president Horace Cadd, who says while things have been better for the club they are nowhere near calling it quits.
"A rumour went round that the Warriors had bought the building for $7 million."
Mr Cadd says the chatter began in June or July after a meeting at which the future of the club and the adjoining bowling club, which the RSA owns, was discussed.
"We had a meeting with the bowling club to talk about selling one or the other, but we didn't make any decision, and from that day onwards the rumour started flying out the door."
He says there is a possibility of selling the bowling club in the future - "maybe five or six years down the track" - but the RSA is off limits.
Mr Cadd says the club is working on ways to increase the number of punters coming through the doors.
"We've got just over 1000 members, but we need them to use the club on a regular basis.
"It's creeping up but 12 months ago 50 to 60 members were keeping it going, but it is picking up.
"The rumours have done a lot of harm for the club though, more harm than good."
Pt Chevalier executive committee member Graeme Poole says the club is concentrating on putting the rumours behind it and moving forward positively.
He is confident member activity can be boosted.
"This is not a new phenomena," he says of the downturn in numbers.
"It's a cycle that goes round with economics and our older members fading."
But initiatives like including a kids' corner with toys and a play area and other family oriented features are helping pull in the vital younger crowd.
"This is a community centre and it needs to hum like one. We still keep the principals of the RSA alive but it's the younger generation that helps take us forward."
He says many consider the RSA to be a "safe haven".
"Young and old come here because they feel safe."
Manager Denise West says the rumours have been advanced by a small group which "thrives on gossip".
She says the whispers have hindered the improvement the community focused club was starting to see.
"We're all trying hard to stop this nonsense," she says.
"I had a call two weeks ago on my own mobile from someone to ask how much we got for the building.
"I said ‘it's not sold and it's not for sale'."
She says talk of its closing has been particularly difficult for some of the older members.
"This is their home for some of the older guys, and they are apprehensive because they think they are going to lose their club."
Mr Poole says there is a simple message to get out: "The lights are still burning and will be for a long, long time."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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