Club president defends proposal to sell

The president of the Raglan Club challenges anyone to say that the town wouldn’t benefit from having a full service supermarket.

“How can anyone honestly say that a supermarket based on the producing model of Countdown is a bad thing for Raglan,” says Colin Sullivan, who has worked with Raglan SuperValue owner operator Sanjay Sharma for about 11 months on a proposal to buy the Club property to build a FreshChoice supermarket.

It will create more jobs, have better and cheaper products, better parking, and it’s not a “new supermarket”, it will replace an existing one, he says, defending his proposal to sell the Club property to Progressive Enterprises Ltd.

The SuperValue has outgrown its site and Sanjay is looking for bigger premises to become FreshChoice, a full service supermarket with an in-store butchers, bakery and deli.

A special general meeting is being held by the Club on Sunday to decide on the fate of the cash-strapped organisation, which made a loss of over $100,000 last year – the proposed sale of the large Bow St premises is on the agenda.

Colin disputes accusations from Club member Andreas Broring, who last week appealed to the Raglan Community Board to help stall the sale, that he is acting in self-interest and hasn’t taken other options into consideration to get the Club back into the black.

Colin says he believes the best option to get the Club back in a good financial position is to sell the property, and “we feel we have the best offer on the table”.

“We have had a number of offers and the others didn’t stack up,” he says, including two offers by Andreas, neither of which “resembled the plans” he presented to the community board.

Andreas’ vision for “Raglan central” is a development of seven two-storey shops along the front of the Club, which he believes will fit the town better than a “new supermarket” or “who really knows what will go there”.

Colin says the offer by Progressive Enterprises will be in the vicinity of $5m. “It could end up more than that.”

He says the offer is roughly 30 per cent more than the registered valuation that was done on the premises, and he was advised that the Club was unlikely to get a higher offer.

The Club also has the option to sell the building, which would otherwise be demolished.

“We have had a lot of support and frustrations,” he says. Andreas has been circulating a petition to Club members, asking that a special general meeting be held to allow an open and honest process regarding any proposal or agreement that the executive has received or signed to date.

It has been signed by about 100 members.

Andreas also sent the Raglan Chronicle an email regarding the Club’s future that he wanted published. It states that members should be allowed to vote on four proposals he has come up, including his idea to develop the road front.

In it, he says the $5m the Club will get in the only offer on the table includes a house on Cliff St, valued at about $1.1m.

Colin says members will be fully informed of the proposal on Sunday, and options for relocation.

He believes it’s time to move on, but that is for the members to decide.

“The only ones who can have a say in the offer are the Club members. Once the members know they can make a decision. We will consult with the community after a decision is made.”

Colin says the Raglan Club isn’t the only club in New Zealand that has suffered financially to stay afloat.

“As a director of Clubs New Zealand I have seen other clubs suffering the same fate due to lack of patronage.”

The Club has 1100 members, but only about 150 are “active”.

“Because we are a club and not a hotel we are restricted to members, affiliate members and guests of members. If every member spent $100 a month in there we would be in a totally different situation.”

Colin says if the property is sold, the Club will be in a financial position to get new up-to-date premises.

“Wherever we go we get to go brand new and a couple of options include income as well.

“We hope to attract more people on a daily basis. At the moment we open at one and are lucky to see someone before five.

“I feel pretty positive about it.”

Inger Vos