Community board’s rare move to start a petition over city council funding

OLD: The former Shirley Community Centre before it was pulled down in October 2012. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

The Papanui-Innes Community Board has taken the rare step of starting a petition to fight the city council over funding.

Signatures are being collected in a bid to get funding for a community facility in Shirley.

It comes after the city council removed funding for the centre planned for Shirley Rd, near the intersection with Hills Rd. This was the site of the former community centre, which was badly damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

The removal of funding prompted community board chairwoman Ali Jones to threaten to stand down, citing it as her “die in the ditch” project.

Ms Jones said the board’s role is to represent the community, and by gathering signatures from residents, it was fulfilling that role.

“One of the roles of a community board is to represent and act as advocate for the interests of its community and this is what we are doing. The LTP and annual plans are all about lobbying the council.”

Innes Ward city councillor Pauline Cotter said she was fully behind the board and its petition.

“We’ve got a really proactive board that goes out to the community . . . and gets people talking, asks them what they want to see in their neighbourhoods,” she said.

Ms Jones said some residents had offered to go door-knocking.

Shirley resident Jennifer Dalziel is collecting signatures. She said if funding isn’t included now, people will have forgotten about it in 10 years time.

“We are being made to feel like we should just give up,” she said.

The petition has about 100 signatures so far. Ms Jones said the funding doesn’t have to specifically go towards a new community centre building, just something the community can use, such as a fruit forest, community barbecue, garden or an all access playground.