Preschool loses lease bid

Central Leader - - News -

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.

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