ReNew Mackay will provide an interim home for Mackay RSL Sub-Branch while the local consortium finalises plans for a $200 million development on the riverfront, which includes a new RSL clubhouse.
Mackay RSL Sub-branch, which has been without a home since the Club closed its doors in 2006, will soon have a temporary clubhouse in the Chaseley House in Sydney Street which ReNew Mackay plans to refit as a project office. The Art Deco Chaseley House was one of 13 premises designed by renowned Mackay architect Harold Vivian Marsh Brown and opened as a department store in 1937.
ReNew Mackay said it will share the office space with the RSL Sub-Branch while project directors Craig Percival and Sean Kelly finalise Stage 1 of a mixed-use part of the $200 million masterplan for the Mackay riverfront precinct.
Mackay RSL Sub-branch president Ken Higgins has been vocal in his support for the plans to revive the club. They include a revived form of an RSL club that would give a social connection to the community while providing support to the almost 3000 veterans who call Mackay home. There is also discussion about a six-storey complex which would include residential accommodation for over 55s.
“ReNew Mackay is a big supporter of the RSL because of the longstanding service they provide to the community,” Mr Percival told The Daily Mercury. “It’s more than a decade since they have been without a permanent place to carry out their administrative duties and hold their meetings.”
But Marian sub-branch president John Edwards was concerned by the introduction of gaming at a revived Club which would replace the old Sydney Street premises which shut after 52 years of operation.
“It’d be a good place to go and talk as long as you haven’t got pokies,” he said. But Mr Higgins said gaming was a “cold hard truth” for the venue which needed gaming machines to survive.
The ReNew Mackay plan is part of the 172ha Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area, which was approved by the state government in 2019 following Mackay Regional Council endorsement. Council endorsed the Mackay Waterfront Master Plan in January 2020.
Mayor Greg Williamson has said that he was impressed by the quality of the submissions received.
“The submissions put forward some excellent ideas that we look forward to exploring in more detail,” he said.
“ReNew Mackay’s proposal included plans for luxury residential properties, over-55s living, commercial offices and tourism opportunities across the majority of the council-owned sites listed in the EOI, as well as adjoining privately-owned sites.”