Monte Cecilia whare to get ren­o­va­tion

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

A historic build­ing at Monte Cecilia Park has been saved from po­ten­tial de­mo­li­tion.

The whare on the for­mer Monte Cecilia Catholic School site in Auck­land will re­ceive a re­al­lo­cated $300,000 de­spite coun­cil ad­vis­ing against its re­ten­tion in May.

This will go to­wards de­vel­op­ing the build­ing as a com­mu­nity space, learn­ing cen­tre and lo­cal ar­chive and read­ing room, a coun­cil spokesper­son says.

The whare was built around 1886 and moved to the park in 1902 to serve as the school­house for St Paul’s Collegiate School.

In May, Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board chair Julie Fairey said there was a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion be­tween the board and coun­cil on the build­ing’s fu­ture ( Cen­tral Leader, May 3).

‘‘The ad­vice was we shouldn’t be ad­vo­cat­ing for its restora­tion and re­ten­tion of the build­ing,’’ Fairey said.

‘‘If you don’t re­tain it what are the other op­tions? There’s an ob­vi­ous con­clu­sion there which is de­mo­li­tion.’’

How­ever on Septem­ber 22 Auck­land Coun­cil’s Fi­nance and Per­for­mance Com­mit­tee re­al­lo­cated $300,000 to­wards the fu­ture of the whare.

Fairey says this is a com­mit­ment the lo­cal board needed to en­sure the sur­vival of the whare.

‘‘It could fill a much-needed gap in terms of a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity in the area.’’

Orig­i­nally this money was com­mit­ted to the fund­ing of a func­tions mar­quee that for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons has never been able to progress, Fairey says.

‘‘We got to a point where all par­ties have agreed that’s not go­ing to work as a solution.’’

While this is a big vic­tory for the lo­cal board, it’s go­ing to take more than $300,000 to re­store the build­ing, Fairey says.

But with­out this fund­ing it would be dif­fi­cult for coun­cil to ap­proach part­ners for fur­ther fi­nance when there was $300,000 al­ready sit­ting there.

‘‘So we needed to get that sorted and com­mit­ted and now we can look at what’s next in terms of get­ting that [fur­ther] fund­ing se­cured.’’

Fairey says the Monte Cecilia site has been a con­tro­ver­sial one so it’s good to have a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘We can say now coun­cil has com­mit­ted to what’s ef­fec­tively the an­chor fund­ing for some­thing pos­i­tive to come out of what was re­ally neg­a­tive for a lot of peo­ple.’’

Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board chair Julie Fairey says the re­al­lo­ca­tion is a pos­i­tive out­come for the board.

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