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Dunedin rugby club operating for over 130 years could be gone if fertiliser plant expands

After operating for more than 130 years, one of Dunedin's proudest rugby clubs, could soon be gone.

That’s according to Harbour Rugby Club President Lance Spence, if the neighbouring Ravensdown fertiliser plant is allowed to expand on to their current training facility.

"We’re passed our used by date and they feel the need to discard us," Spence told 1 NEWS.

Despite the club operating on the site since the 1880’s, the land it’s on was re-zoned in the 1960’s to industrial land.

Ravensdown later purchased the site and officially own the rugby ground.

"Right now it’s pretty much a gentleman’s handshake," Ravensdown works manager Tony Gray says referencing the clubs current lease.

Spence though argues, it belongs to them.

"We’ve been here for 134 years, so we believe it’s continual use and we still have a lease in place."

Gray says the plant has no immediate plans to expand on the site, but admits that’ll soon change. Spence doesn’t agree, saying he’s heard the plant want to move on to the site within the next two years.

Spence says if the club were to lose the site, it’d likely mean the end of the club, with players not willing to commute to the team's other site in Port Chalmers.

"That will be the end of the prems site…. We’d have a third grade side, but not for long."

Jeff Wilson, Tony Brown, Waisake Naholo, and Tongan international Hale T-Pole have all played for the proud club. T-Pole crediting the club for shaping his career.

Both Spence and Gray admit the two parties aren’t communicating at present, with Harbour calling in lawyers should expansion talks heat up.

When asked if the ground would still be around in five years time, Spence says: "It will be… or we’ll still be going through the courts."

Source: Getty