Hub options being looked into

Oamaru's Community House is no longer fit for purpose.

After securing a $90,000 lottery grant, a feasibility study is now under way to determine requirements and consider the best approach to establish a new multipurpose community hub that will better meet the needs of the community.

Oamaru Community House Trust chairman Dick Cottier, who is also leading the community hub development group, said it was exciting to be able to move to "the next stage of making the community hub project a reality".

At present, Community House is used by about 18 groups and organisations, including Age Concern, the Citizens Advice Bureau and North Otago Budget Advisory Service.

However, it no longer met the needs of the trust, the groups and organisations that used it, or their clients, Mr Cottier said.

The 1882 category 2 heritage building in Thames St is owned by the Waitaki District Council, which rents it to the trust.

Mr Cottier said it needed to be upgraded, but money would be better spent on a bigger and more modern facility.

Dunedin company Feldspar was conducting the feasibility study, which would determine requirements and explore options for a location and funding.

As part of the study, Feldspar had sent surveys to 140 local organisations, including current users of Community House and potential users of a community hub in Oamaru.

"We are working very hard to make sure that we get as much input from community organisations as possible so that we know what spaces are needed to make this project a success," Mr Cottier said.

He expected the study to be completed in about four months’ time, and he was looking forwards to the release of the findings .

"Once the feasibility study is done, we then know where we’re going ... and we can start getting our funding together."

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