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Thursday, 13 December 2018 11:08 am

Last chance for public to influence Stokes Valley Community Hub


If the project goes ahead, the hub will be built where Stokes Valley library and hall currently sits.

Stokes Valley residents have only a week left to submit their views on council’s $5 million community hub project.

After two years of public consultation and planning, the project will be given a yes or no from council soon after April 29, which marks the last day submissions will be accepted.

The project, announced in 2014, ties into council’s 30-year community facilities rejuvenation plan, and aims to integrate a range of community and council services under one roof.

Project leader Mike Mercer says it’s important that people take this final opportunity to make submissions about what they think of the hub.

“Unless the community shows their support for this project, the council could elect to not fund it.

“That decision is a lot harder to make if there’s a whole lot of people who submit in support of it.

“So we’re encouraging people to make a submission and have their say, whether or not they support it is up to them, but we need to hear their view on the project.”

Mr Mercer says anybody who would like to speak to council about the hub, in person, can do so from May 17-18 by making a request in their submission.

The project was originally allocated $2 million, but after realizing this would only cover earthquake strengthening and some refurbishing of the current Stokes Valley library and hall, an extra $3.1 million was requested.

The extra money pushes the budget to $5.1 million, which would be spent on bulldozing the existing buildings and rebuilding on the same spot.

What the hub will contain, has been left to public consultation.

Since 2014 the Stokes Valley community has been what they wanted to see in the hub via on-site and online surveys, public meetings, an interactive display in the library, and more.

The results from the consultation’s 650 responses were broken down into primary and secondary categories, primary results being the most commonly requested features.

Primary results include a kitchen facility that allows for users to cater for functions and events on site, wifi and access to public computers, a larger library space, and a range of activities and services offered to young people within the space.

Treasurer of the Stokes Valley community house Casey M Diver says competition for space in the hub is hot.

“Everyone is fighting for a piece of the new hub.

“Some want a new cafe, plunket and toy library want to come in, stokes valley rugby wants an indoor sports centre, community house wants a space, library wants to be extended.

“I want a youth space, something I am putting into my annual submission to try and deal with the youth issues in Stokes Valley.”

Resident Melissa Flower says she wants to see an open kitchen in the hub.

She says John’s Kitchen, an open kitchen run by Crossroads Marlborough Charitable Trust in Blenheim, is a great example of how it should operate.

Johns Kitchen aims to provide free meals to anybody who needs them, they’ve brought in over 200 volunteers in a single year, and served over 100,000 meals, all thanks to volunteer work and donations from the community.

“Its a place for all to come to, people with no family members, widows, the elderly.”

Ms Flower says there are a lot of troubled youths in Stokes Valley, and she thinks providing a safe place to go, where they can speak to people about their hopes and dreams, and receive advice about what steps they can take, would be a step in the right direction.

“Inspiration comes in many forms and kids like to feel like someone just cares.”

Project leader Mike Mercer says including youth activities and services is one of the key priorities that have come up again and again, during public consultation.

“Absolutely, one of the primary considerations is young people, but it’s not the only one.

“The fundamental philosophy behind this facility will be that it’s flexible and usable.”

If you would like information about how to make a submission to council about the hub, you can find it here.

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