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Community to benefit from Plunket hall decision

Aug 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

THE MAUNGARAKI Plunket room will belong to the community after Hutt City Council’s Community and Infrastructure committee decided not to demolish the 40 year old building.

Plunket sold the Dowse Drive premises to Hutt City Council for $1 and Maungaraki Community Association leader Rick Mooney says: “It complements the existing community facilities and will be in demand once people are aware of it.”

“We expect there will be a number of groups who will benefit from the availability of such a good sized room that is not too big, conveniently located and it will be affordable,” says Mr Mooney.

Plunket found the building to be suffering from damp and vacated it in 2011, estimating that up to $40,000 would be needed to fix windows and repair the room for use.

Demolition would have cost the council about $15,000 but Community and Infrastructure Chair Max Shierlaw believes the community will benefit from the investment.

“The building is in a good enough condition and there’s no point knocking it down when a new building would cost over $100,000,” says Mr Shierlaw.

“The council has agreed that $15,000, that would have been spent on the demolition of the building, will go towards fixing it, while the Maungaraki Community Association will pay rates, ” he says.

“Maungaraki School indicated they would use the building, so there is demand for it.”

Maungaraki School is in a period of growth and wrote letters to the council showing its support for retention of the building.

School principal Lisa Cavanagh explains that although details for the room’s use have not been confirmed, having another room available will help with school programmes.

“In terms of having an extra break out space for the school it will be great to have able to have the use of the building,” says Mrs Cavanagh.

“For things like school electives it will be perfect.”

The Maungaraki Community Association wishes to combine the Plunket building with the nearby community centre, which is  is currently leasing from the Council.

The community centre generates over $10,000 a year from regular users, which has been used to purchase the school sound system, books, and new seating for the local playground.

Mr Mooney says there is a demand for more space and that taking on some small costs to maintain the building will  advantage the community.

“The Association will manage the facility hire and care for minor interior maintenance, but this building has never been available to the community before and it is a facility that will be dedicated to the needs of the community,” says Mr Mooney.

“It’s great news after a lot of uncertainty.”

Initially the MCA will contribute $5,000 along with fundraising currently being explored.

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