Alexandra Community House trust chairwoman Bernie Lepper
and Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper cut the ribbon at the
official opening of the house. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
After five and a-half years and $2.6 million, the
Alexandra Community House is officially open.
Central Otago Mayor and Mayoress Tony and Bernie Lepper cut
the ribbon after speeches in front of about 200 people on
Mrs Lepper, also the house trust chairwoman, said it was a
''really great feeling'' to be there after so much hard work
for ''a building that has changed the landscape of Central
Mr Lepper said the project had not been without difficulties
but they had been overcome.
''Hurdles have been encountered, worked through and beaten.
''None of this has happened by luck ... [but by] the vision
of dedicated and intelligent people.''
After the speeches, the planting of a commemorative tree and
a blessing by Reverend Martin Oh, people had the chance to
walk through the building.
''It's absolutely magnificent, a great effort and a whole new
look for Alexandra,'' Margaret Popenhagen, of Alexandra,
Her comments were echoed by many as they walked the hallways,
looked in offices or had a cup of tea in the reception area.
Another common remark was the amount of space and attention
to detail for the price tag.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean was one of those having a look.
''What strikes me first of all is that it's such a
well-thought-out building ... combining and bringing together
all of what this community needs.''
The 1054sq building, in the St Enoch's Church grounds in the
centre of Alexandra, now houses social service agencies,
along with education and arts and crafts groups such as
Central Otago Rural Education Activities Programme (Reap),
the Alexandra Community Advice Network, the Central Otago
Budgeting Service, Plunket, Relationship Services, Catholic
Social Services, Anglican Family Care, Alzheimer's Society,
Age Concern, Central Otago District Arts Trust, Jigsaw,
Cancer Society and the Youth Clinic.
The $2.6 million cost had been raised by community groups and
individuals, with major grants coming from the Central Lakes
Trust, Lotteries Community Fund, Transpower, the Otago
Community Trust, the Alexander McMillan Trust, Pub Charities
and the Vincent Community Board.
Three buildings were removed or demolished to make way for
the church house and hall and a building known as Ranby
An oak tree was also removed and has since been made into an
outdoor seat at the house by the Alexandra Men's Shed group.