You TubeFacebookTwitterflickrGoogle plus
Friday, 22 March 2019 06:06 pm

Sale ousts Mt Victoria residents from Crossways

Aug 13th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Article

Mt Victoria residents are seeking a new venue for a community centre, after being ousted from the building that has housed local groups and services for 30 years.

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church recently accepted a $1.31 million offer by tender from a private buyer intent on turning the much-loved centre into a family home.

Bill Southworth, chair of the Crossways Community Trust, which offered $1 million, says: “We are disappointed – we saw it as a community issue, not just about the highest or lowest bidder.”

The trust lobbied Wellington City Council and raised money to buy the centre after the church announced last year it was to sell the property to fund essential maintenance on St Andrew’s Church on the Terrace.

Although the council initially indicated it might help the trust to buy the building, the group was ultimately left to its own devices after being refused a grant of $250,000.

Wellington City councilor Iona Pannett supported the Crossways group in the quest to buy the centre, but says some of her colleagues were concerned with saddling the group with debt.

Mr Southworth says it was a formidable task to raise $1 million in 12 months.

“Mt Vic is not a big place – it only has 5000 residents – but we got stuck in and raised it.  Had we got the grant, I think the church would have sold it to us and lost out on just $50,000.”

Ms Iona Pannett says by not consulting soon enough, the church “dropped the council in it”.

“Suddenly the council became responsible for providing a community centre for Mt Vic. I think it’s ironic that a congregation like St Andrew’s, which talks about social justice, has done this.”

The church, however, says it supported the Crossways Community Trust by allowing a year to raise funds to buy the building.

“We were not able to provide the major subsidy that the trust requested,” St Andrew’s minister Margaret Mayman says in a statement.

With Crossways out of residents’ hands from October 9, about 40 community groups are struggling to find new premises.

“We are going to look around for something to lease – either in Mt Vic or on its fringes, says Mr Southworth.

“We’ve identified a couple of places, but the crèche is in need of an outdoor area and that will be difficult to find.”

Crossways Community Creche coordinator Cilla Bennett says the crèche has been operating out of the centre for nearly 25 years.

“Last year we looked at 26 different alternative options in the inner city, Mt Victoria and the surrounding suburbs, but they either were unsuitable in terms of the space or not available at the time we needed it.

“We’ve gone back to have another look at them recently and they are just not suitable.”

The crèche and the Crossways Trust are in discussion with the council while they urgently seek a temporary venue to lease. They have just six weeks left.

Picture: The much-loved Crossways – no longer in community hands.

Tags: , , , , , ,

is a Whitireia Journalism student.
Email this author | All posts by

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radio News