Devastation, bewilderment and frustration filtered through the Maitland District Motorcycle Club (MDMC) earlier this year.
Members awoke on Thursday 5 January to hear their Kyle Street premises in Rutherford was not only broken into but set alight in a senseless act of vandalism.
The fire destroyed the canteen and sign-on building, with damage also occurring to the surrounding storage rooms, leaving the volunteers with a massive repair bill.
Now, more than two months later, those initial emotions have been replaced by elation, exhilaration and optimism after Maitland state MP Jenny Aitchison announced an $80,000 windfall for the organisation if Labor prevailed in the 2023 NSW Election on 25 March.
“It’s fantastic news for the club,” president Corey Gronzo said.
“We’ll be able to invest it in a number of things, from security to several vital improvements.
“Considering what we had planned [to do] before the fire… that was to upgrade our amenities because of the volume of people attending events here.
“Motorcycling Australia (MA) didn’t want to see this facility disappear either.
“We’re a key location, so we needed to make changes anyway.
“Motorcycling NSW (MNSW) and MA have both helped out, but the latter especially.
“They’re keen to grow the sport – and Maitland can play a role in that.
“Our next major meeting, the Pro MX Nationals, takes place in May.
“So, this money will come in handy moving forward.”
After being “heavily impacted” by the destruction, Mr Grono admitted the future looked bright for MDMC.
“Our losses totalled tens of thousands of dollars,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“But, we were straight out here the following week, after police examined the scene… and it’s continued since then.
“Everyone’s freely given their time, trying to get everything done.
“I can’t thank them enough.
“We still need to install a new roof, complete a full kitchen fit-out and fix the existing solar, so there’s at least another month’s work.
“However, the support we’ve received from the community and the mining industry has been incredible.
“To be honest, we’re overwhelmed.
“Maitland City Council has also been terrific, very supportive.
“We hosted a ride park event to raise some funds a fortnight after the fire, which was well-received.
“MNSW donated all the proceeds, including rider fees, back to the club.
“Then we were given coaching sessions to let people know we were still operating.
“Now, we’re almost back on track.”
Ms Aitchison said she was only too happy to assist the MDMC.
“I’m very pleased that under a Chris Minns Labor government, we’ll provide $80,000 for upgrades at the club,” she stated.
“It’s great to be able to deliver some good news for them, particularly as they rebuild from a fire earlier this year that swept through their canteen and clubhouse destroying everything in its path.
“I look forward to seeing how this project will make a real difference for our community.”
Earlier on Thursday 23 March, Ms Aitchison also pledged $100,000 to Early Links in Ashtonfield, much to the delight of Michael Maffey and Sue French.
For more news stories:
- Motorcyclist dies following crash near Maitland
- Newcastle Basketball $30 million stadium for New Lambton
- Motorists name and shame Newcastle’s worst roads
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