Preschool loses lease bid
Onehunga children won’t be getting a new preschool after the building it was planned for was leased to another community group.
The newly formed Maungakiekie Education and Community Trust wanted to set up an early childhood centre at a vacant building on Rowe St, next to St Joseph’s School.
The Maungakiekie Community Board decided to instead award the building’s lease to the Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, a group for the elderly, at its meeting last week.
The group has a five- year lease of the former kohanga reo building with two rights of renewal.
“We all admire what the Shanti Niwas does, it is a wonderful service to older people. From a community point of view, the preschool would serve the community well,” says community board chairwoman Bridget Graham.
“But the Shanti Niwas are an admirable group and they operate a great deal wider than just Onehunga and Mangere.”
St Joseph’s principal and trustee Andy Thompson says he is disappointed by the de- cision but the community board didn’t have much option other than to support the Auckland City Council lease officer’s recommendation.
“Unfortunately my group has no track record and the policy is geared against newly formed groups.”
The trust wanted to use the building because it was purposebuilt as a childcare facility.
He says the trust got a fair hearing from the board but he believes there needs to be a change to the council’s community and recreation lease policy.