$125k fast-tracked to move building and keep community ‘goodwill’

BUILDING: The transitional St Albans Community Centre is set to be moved to MacFarlane Park for further community use. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

An additional $125,000 has been fast-tracked to move a community centre and maintain the goodwill of the St Albans and Shirley communities.

The money will go towards a shortfall in shifting the transitional St Albans Community Centre from Colombo St to MacFarlane Park where it will be used by Shirley residents. The shifting of the centre, which was donated by the Lions International Club, was approved by the city council at its meeting on Thursday.

A city council report said it was initially estimated $100,000 would be needed to move the building but more detailed planning has revealed it would cost $225,000.

The initial $100,000 was approved through the city council’s Annual Plan.

City council staff told councillors there would be time delays and a financial impact on the St Albans rebuild if the funding was not granted. “It’s a matter of urgency, it really needs to be moved.”

A staff report said there would be a “loss of goodwill” from the community, which has been waiting for the rebuild in St Albans and a new facility in Shirley.

Innes Ward city councillor Pauline Cotter said it was a “great win” for the communities. “St Albans and Shirley have been a little bit under the radar with how hard they’ve been hit by the earthquake. This is a very good deal for council.”

City councillors questioned the cost but were told moving a building is more expensive than it may sound. “It sounds easy taking a building from one park and putting it on another . . . but you’re talking about car parks, you’re talking about making the building accessible, plumbing, signage, power, foundations. It is expensive,” a staff member said.

Putting it at MacFarlane Park means the Lions “committed and generous” donation of the building will not go to waste.

It also enables the facility to continue being used after its original placement in St Albans.

Cr Cotter confirmed Lions intended to gift the building to the city council next year.

For the past four years, the Papanui-Innes Community Board and the Shirley Community Trust have been seeking a solution to the lack of a facility in the Shirley area.