Space only limited by imagination

Looking forward to making plans for the former Para Rubber/Veggie Boys site in South Dunedin are ...
Looking forward to making plans for the former Para Rubber/Veggie Boys site in South Dunedin are (from left) South Dunedin Community Network manager Robyn McLean, board member Nikita Choveaux and administrator Nicola Pye. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The delay in the development of a new South Dunedin library and community complex has a silver lining, with the interim development of a community space on the site.

Local residents will have their chance to suggest uses for the space at a community hui, hosted by the South Dunedin Community Network, this Wednesday.

The South Dunedin library complex is planned for the building at the corner of King Edward St and Macandrew Rd, but demolition work cannot begin until February 2025.

Dunedin City Council chief executive Sandy Graham said council had been unable to find a new home for remaining tenant, the Community Care Trust, which would remain on site until its lease expires on January 31, 2025.

In the meantime, the council would open up the former Veggie Boys and Para Rubber premises for community use.

"The South Dunedin Community Network has kindly agreed to co-ordinate use of the space and has lots of good ideas about how to use it," Ms Graham said.

The council will provide a small amount of funding to help set up the space as soon as possible.

South Dunedin Community Network manager Robyn McLean is excited to have the "amazing opportunity" to develop the space for community use in the interim.

"Our aim is to go at it with a clean slate, and with a lot of community input into how the space can be used," Mrs McLean said.

"We are only limited by our imagination."

At the community hui, to be held from 5.30pm on June 1, at Bathgate Park School hall, she hoped to hear from community groups and individuals keen to use the space.

Ms Graham will be on hand to answer questions, and there will be a free family meal catered by new local food truck The Dunedin Bowling Club.

The hui will also be live-streamed for people who prefer to watch from home.

"It’s exciting to be leading this project, and pretty big too — these are large spaces," Mrs McLean said.

Already there were ideas flowing through from the community, from play groups to yoga classes.

"There are just so many options in front of us.

"We always follow a community-led development process, which use the strengths we have here in our community.

"And it’s always interesting, because we never know how it [a project] will end up."

Ms Graham said creating a temporary community space would help give people a sense of what the new community hub would deliver.

"I want to reassure South Dunedin residents that the DCC remains committed to establishing a permanent library and community complex in South Dunedin and funding continues to be set aside for that purpose."



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