For the last four years we have had a dog training club running from the Rail Park in Ngongotaha. For many and various reasons the Rail Trust and the District Council did not like us being there. When we first moved there we had 19 dogs and about 14 handlers. Now we have close to 40 handlers and about 50 dogs in various stages of development and playing various games. This growth caused huge anst to the Rotorua District Council because we did not have Resource Consent to train dogs in the middle of the Ngongotaha Township. Either in panic or out of some form of pique the Rail Trust decided to rip up the Memorandum of Understanding they had with us, while claiming we owned back 'rent' and did not pay for 'events' that they thought we were holding. Basically I think they were worried about us being there without Resource Consent. There was nothing in the Rail Trust Consent to allow Dog Training so it may not have been in their best interests that we were there.

Every month without fail we paid the Rail Trust the contents of our 'koha' box. We asked every person coming onto the grounds for training to make a gift to our money box and this was paid to the Rail Trust. We never paid 'rent' as such as we understood their lease to the crown specifically disallowed subletting by the Trust. So anyway we needed to find a new home. I came up with several ideas most of which fell short of reality. For example, the Rotorua District Council had no intention of letting a dog training outfit set up on any of their many rural and suburban reserves. So it was a matter of finding private land again, that the Club could afford.

The Stock Car Club at Paradise Valley was one of my suggestions. On first look this does not seem like a very exciting venue, however, they have allowed us to park our Shipping Container of gear in a prominent corner, we have water at a tap - right there. They are happy to help up get power back on to our container so we can make a cuppa and heat the soup in winter and turn the light on on dull days, but best of all they want to help us get a night flood light so that we can do evening training through the winter months. This is just awesome. What is good about the stock car grounds is that it is mostly a huge parking lot in grass and dirt. We couldn't hurt it if we tried. Everyone can drive right to the ringside to train their dogs. They can work their dogs out of their cars. The dogs are comfie, we are comfie as we can sit in our cars to take five and eat our lunch or whatever. Wonderful. The toilets are more than adequate. Tonight the 20th February 2013 we had our first training night for Agility at the new grounds. It was absolutely spectacular. The scenery is just gorgeous, the peace and quiet are superb, the space is just massive. Training was fantastic, what else can I say. It looks like we have a great future ahead of us at this venue. It isn't cheap for a small group. $250 per month, so we have to beef up our funding arrangements. We have made the Koha from the old venue into a compulsory $2 green fee payable once a week. If you train twice a week it is just $2. So far our calculations are holding up and we will make the grade with this. The big issue is wet days no training days, so we have to have a couple of fundraiser things every month just to help us feel secure. We will continue with Flyball which makes about $25 per week after expenses and we may hold a raffle or two each month. Just little things that make $50 here and $50 there.. When we needed money at the start of the Club 7 years ago, we used to cater brilliant morning teas and charge $2 for a cuppa and whatever yummy morning tea things were brought in by Club members. This was very popular so we might need to re-institute some of these things.

As the Club Trainer I am very relieved that we have found a home. The biggest thanks goes to Christine Hutchings who has moved and shaken this whole fiasco. She has applied herself to the limit. Her committment to the Club is just the greatest. She sets a brilliant example and if the new Committee get on board Chris' enthusiasm then we will truly have a Club that is going places. The Resource Consent from the District Council was not the easiest to obtain and it cost us something short of $900. Which truly is a lot of money for a small club to pay for the right to train dogs at a country venue where the land owners and the neighbours had agreed that we were suitable tenants. We did wonder what the District Council had on its mind, charging this kind of money to a community organisation, in particular an organisation that takes responsibility for training some of the district's difficult dogs and acts as a support group for all dog owners in the Rotorua District whether they are members or not. In particular we have had a number of 'hard to train' rehomes from the Rotorua District Council Pound. But to Chris for her perseverence in the face of a quite negative set of circumstances, I can but say thank you again from the bottom of my heart. If she had not done the hard yards to get us moved, I doubt the Club would have survived.

So here's to the future of Dog Sports Rotorua. A truly alternative style dog training organisation without ties to the NZ Kennel Club, with a place for every dog and assistance for all dog owners. It is Flyball night tomorrow night. The first one at the new venue. I just can't wait. It truly excites me to be the games organisor for Dog Sports. See you all there...