Residents of the small Central Otago town of Clyde fear for the future of their local pub and hotel, after the business was sold to an unknown new owner. Dunstan Hotel owner Kevin Gallagher, who purchased the building three years, confirmed that the building had been sold. However, it had been sold to a company, and he wasn’t sure who owned the company.
“I'm hoping a local entity would keep it going,” he said.
A rumour circulating on a community Facebook page claims that some of the building will be used as a cycle shop, capitalising on the popularity of the Clyde to Middlemarch rail trail.
Clyde locals are firmly opposed to the sale, despite not knowing who the new owners will be.
“I haven't heard yet who has bought the hotel but I don't expect they'll be getting a lot of help and support from the locals, they certainly won't be getting any from me,” one resident wrote on Facebook. “The heart of the local community has been ripped out. There is now no focal point for the locals to congregate, a social meeting place where friends and neighbours catch up year-round, yes even in the winter months when there are no tourists in town … In other words the heart and soul of yet another small New Zealand community is cut out.”
The Dunstan Hotel was built in 1904, although the site has been operating as a hotel since 1862. The current site includes ten guest rooms, a restaurant and a beer garden. Gallagher and his wife sold it after it became too time-consuming. It currently employs 15 staff, two of which are fulltime, and Gallagher was unsure of their fate.