Objection delays community centre rebuild

ON THE MOVE: The temporary St Albans Community Centre is shifting to MacFarlane Park in Shirley before the centre's rebuild begins.

Mediation may be needed to work through a neighbour’s objection to the new St Albans Community Centre.

Caledonian Rd residents Thirza and Philip Bean submitted in opposition to the community centre proposal, which has delayed the rebuild that was set to start at the end of last year. Their property borders the Colombo St community centre.

City council head of community support, governance and partnerships unit Lester Wolfreys said the city council has not issued resource consent so work cannot begin.

“The city council is considering a resource consent application and has received an objection. No decision has yet been made on the application,” Mr Wolfreys said.

In their written objection, Mr and Mrs Bean said the large facility would increase the scale of activity in the area, as well as traffic, demand for car parks, noise generated and a loss of privacy.

Although Mr and Mrs Bean said the plan is a “great idea” for the community, they want the centre’s operating hours to be reduced, additional on-site parking provided, a cap on the number of people using the building, and a reduction in
the floor space and outdoor area.

A city council spokeswoman said no start or finish date could be confirmed until the resource consent issues are resolved and consent is granted.

But city councillor Pauline Cotter said staff were working with the objecting party.

“We’re hoping to sort it out through mediation,” she said.

“This kind of thing can often be solved quite easily.”

Cr Cotter said she is aware the community is eager to get this project under way and doesn’t want it delayed longer than necessary.

“The community board’s priority is getting this new facility open. We’re keen to push that big green go button,” Cr Cotter said.

She said the facility was “bigger and better” than before and while the Shirley Community Centre rebuild was on the “back burner”, it would be serving that community as well.

When it is completed the new St Albans Community Centre will include a large hall with sprung floor, a recreation room, two small meeting rooms, a multi-media room, an office, kitchen and toilets.

The operation of the St Albans Community Centre was temporarily moved from Colombo St to the St Albans Tennis Club on Dover St on Thursday as its building is being moved to MacFarlane Park.

The community centre will operate from the tennis club until the new facility is built.