St Joseph preschool plans up in the air
A decision to lease two separate spaces in a vacant Onehunga building may have thrown a spanner in works for a proposed preschool.
The Auckland City Council originally advertised the lease for the building at 3 Rowe St at the end of last year and the Maungakiekie Education and Community Trust applied for it.
It wants to set up a preschool in the purpose-built space, which was formerly a kohanga reo.
A successful applicant hasn’t been chosen yet but the council recently advertised office space in the building as a separate lease.
Trustee and St Joseph’s School principal Andy Thompson was not aware of the second lease and was surprised to see the office space advertised before a decision was made on who would lease the larger part of the building.
He says he understood from a discussion with a council officer that the council would look at the needs of the successful applicant before leasing out the separate office space.
He says another group using part of the building could jeopardise the preschool plan because the Education Ministry guidelines for establishing early childhood education centres are stringent.
The Maungakiekie Community Board will decide which group they will recommend to get the lease for the larger part of the building at its meeting next week. Getting involved with the community has led to a new friendship for volunteers Emily Davidson and Leandro Ribeiro.
The pair have been visiting Mt Albert pensioner Mervyn Long for about five months, spending time with him every Tuesday evening as part of the Salvation Army’s Heartfelt Help programme.
Mr Long enjoys the opportunity to exchange banter with them.
“We have a few arguments,” he jokes. “I enjoy it.”
Mr Long spends most of his time at home, although he walks every day for his health and his daughter Debbie Fergus takes him out on Wednesdays.
She says it’s great having Ms Davidson and Mr Ribeiro visit her dad and he looks forward to it.
The pair joined the programme after deciding to do some volunteer work in the community.
“I went on the internet and found a website where you can find all sorts of programmes,” says Mr Ribeiro.
They came across Heartfelt Help and decided to join.
“We go to church locally and had been thinking about getting more involved in the