Megan Williams looks over her original 2009 feasibility
study for a proposed community house in Wanaka, ahead of
presenting the results from her latest study, which shows
strong community support remains for the project. Photo by
Nearly 70 community organisations, social service
agencies and arts and performance groups have confirmed their
interest in being part of a proposed community house for
Wanaka, in the project's latest feasibility study.
The renewed show of support brings the multipurpose community
facility a significant step closer, although there are still
resource consent and funding requirements to meet.
St Columba's Anglican Church and Community Networks Wanaka
began developing the idea of a community house several years
ago, after the Anglican Church Dunedin Diocesan Trust Board
offered a 50-year lease over land it owns on McDougall St -
between the vicarage and the church - for a peppercorn rent.
Megan Williams, who was contracted to carry out both the
feasibility studies for the project, said the original study
three years ago uncovered about 25 prospective tenants.
While she ''didn't dig as deep'' the first time around, the
significant growth in the number of interested parties shown
in the new study was still an ''amazing'' outcome.
Ms Williams said the building would be able to cater for all
the groups as only some of them would use it daily. Others
would be there on a weekly or periodic basis. The bulk of the
groups come under the umbrella of the expanding Community
Networks organisation - which would be the anchor tenant -
such as the food bank, Strengthening Families and the Cancer
Society. However, a diverse range of other keen community
house users had come to light.
There was ''big interest'' from the arts sector, from
performance groups, and from other groups which would be
displaced when the old Presbyterian church hall in Tenby St
''The beauty of the community house is ... it's going to be
the cheapest facility in town because of the generosity of
the Anglican parish,'' Ms Williams said.
''We wouldn't be able to build a community house if we had to
purchase the land in central Wanaka.''
The only cost to groups would be a proportion of the running
costs of the facility.
''It provides a very affordable space for groups to use and
also to meet each other and mingle and collaborate.
''There'll be permanent people, so it will be a busy hub.''
The Wanaka Community House Trust was set up a year ago to
organise the provision of a Wanaka community house, to
maximise the delivery of social services in the Upper Clutha
by making rental accommodation affordable for non-profit and
charitable community organisations and government
organisations. An initial concept plan and drawings for the
665sq m building were completed some time ago.
Ms Williams said she would present her recommendations from
the second study to the trust early this year. Then
prospective user groups would liaise with the designer to
ensure the building would cater to their specific
requirements. Resource consent and funding applications would
then be made. It was hoped construction would start in early
The original estimated cost for the facility was $1.9
million. The right to occupy the land was estimated at a
further $600,000, giving the project an overall value of $2.5
million. However, that figure was provided three years ago
and would be updated in accordance with the revised design
The recently-completed $2.6 million Alexandra Community House
in central Alexandra will open early next year. firstname.lastname@example.org