A sports club that refused to be pushed around by the Tauranga City Council is going to be allowed to keep its Blake Park clubrooms.

The council tried to push the Mount Cricket and Hockey Society out of its Blake Park clubrooms and into the new BOP Cricket Trust pavilion.

The building at the heart of the dispute.

The building at the heart of the dispute.

It tried to force the issue in June, pressuring the association and the trust to agree by threatening to withhold building consent unless they did so.

The move threatened the entire project because the BOP Cricket Trust has to begin construction this year or lose $1 million in TECT funding.

The clubs’ officials sorted it out in arbitration, but on reporting back to the society, the 400 strong playing membership say they still don’t want to move out of their clubrooms – even though they endorse the memorandum of understating allowing the pavilion’s construction.

The Mount Cricket and Hockey Society sent its vice-president, Bill Webb, to the council to tell it they are opposing being moved against their wishes.

The society’s focus is on local club cricket and hockey, and members will only be permitted the use of the pavilion at the BOP Cricket Trust’s discretion.

Club cricket is ranked 10th on the trust’s list of priorities, says Bill.

It comes behind international and national games, but also behind a number of non cricketing events.

Cricket and hockey society members will not have the use of the pavilion during any of the events.

Bill says the society members understand the BOP Cricket Trust is taking on a large financial responsibility with the pavilion.

The cricket and hockey society’s 35 year lease expires in 2019.

Bill reminded the council that unlike the Greerton Swimming Club, the Mount Soccer Club, Arataki Rugby Club and the Papamoa Sports Club; the Mount Cricket and Hockey Society has never defaulted or required a ratepayer bail out.

Under a previous arrangement, the council earmarked $240,000 for the clubhouse’s redevelopment upon the expiry of the lease.

This was removed by council a few years ago – leaving many feeling an injustice had been done.

When Councillor Tony Christiansen raised the $240,000 compensation issue, he was challenged by Councillor David Stewart, but upheld by staff.

In 2004 the council removed $240,000 from the reserve management plan.

It took about two hours, but the society got what it wants.

It can stay in its clubhouse until the lease expires or it’s required to move because of new hockey turfs.

Meanwhile, arrangements will be made to move the top half of the clubhouse up beside the club cricket ovals on the park.

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