By DAVID HILL
The Rangiora RSA plans to be settled in its renovated Victoria Street premises by Armistice Day in November.
The centenary of the signing of the armistice to end World War 1 in 1918 will be commemorated at 11am on November 11.
Club president Ian Thompson says the premises will be ready, despite a two-month delay after brown asbestos was discovered on piping during the renovations.
Mr Thompson says the handover from the builders is now expected to be at the end of September, two months later than the scheduled July handover .
The official opening is planned for November, just before Armistice Day celebrations.
“It’s progressing well and we are very happy with the effort of the builders and designers and the associated businesses. None of the delay is their fault.
“I’m just so pleased with our staff because it has been a very disruptive two years, and I thank our members because their support has been excellent.”
He said waiting until November to mark the official opening will allow staff and the Rangiora RSA and RSA Club executives to establish themselves in the new layout.
It will mean the Rangiora RSA will not be flying its “red duster” flag on Merchant Navy Day, as it has in recent years, or hold its own commemoration for Passchendaele Day, leaving the Kaiapoi RSA to host the events for North Canterbury.
But Mr Thompson says it will be worth the wait, as the newly renovated club’s southern entrance will be big enough to drive up in a jeep on Anzac Day.
He says a major commemoration event is being planned for Armistice Day, with naval veterans from around New Zealand and Australia expected in Rangiora on the day, and a special naval display will be set-up in the entranceway.
Mr Thompson says the renovations have not dampened membership interest.
The RSA and RSA Club are growing, with an average of 70 new members being signed up each month, in part due to the presence of the Charles Upham Retirement Village.
This means Rangiora has the largest and fastest growing RSA membership in the South Island.