First Five needs land
In the current housing crisis Jenni Mason has an unusual problem. She has the house, but needs land to put it on.
‘‘We need a new home and I’m asking if there’s anyone out in the community that has some land we could beg, borrow or steal.’’
Mason is the supervisor of First Five Early Childhood Centre, which has stood in the Kenepuru Hospital grounds for 29 years.
The staff had been planning how to celebrate the centre’s 30th birthday next year when they received an eviction notice.
‘‘Initially we were told we had to leave the building, but Carrus have been fantastic and are letting us take it.’’
The land the centre sits on is being developed into a subdivision of about 600 medium density houses.
Mason said they had to be off the site in October and she and her staff had already started packing.
‘‘We’re smack in the middle [of the site] so we can’t stay. Carrus have said the hill we sit on will have to be levelled.’’
The block of land forms part of a historical treaty settlement, which transfers into Ngati Toa’s ownership later this year.
Originally set up to care for the children of staff at the neighbouring hospital, First Five is a notfor-profit, community-based cooperative.
Mason had been at the centre for 15 years and admitted she was not sleeping too well at the moment.
‘‘This is a real family up here, four members of staff have been here for more than 20 years.’’
She thought the minimum land requirement would be a quarter-acre section.
Anyone thinking of offering the centre a new home could expect to enjoy the happy sound of children laughing, she said.
‘‘We won’t be there in the evening or on the weekends, we’ll be the perfect neighbours.’’
Carrus Properties director Scott Adams confirmed the childcare centre could take the building and said other properties on the site would be demolished.
‘‘We can’t undertake comprehensive earthworks if we’re working around little buildings.’’
He said it wasn’t possible to grant extensions to any tenants on the Kenepuru site who have received eviction notices.
‘‘The day we settle is the day the wrecking ball starts swinging.’’
Demolition of all the buildings on the 50 hectare block would begin immediately, making way for a subdivision of about 600 medium density houses.
Adams said any natural features or landmarks would be preserved and there was existing reserve areas that wouldn’t be touched.
‘‘It will be a different product from Aotea with town houses and terraces which hopefully will be able to reach the lower end of the market.
‘‘We’ll be creating walkways and a pedestrian overpass to help with traffic.’’
He said the development would attract Wellington buyers who would see it as a handy location to the capital.
The off-ramp from Transmission Gully, shopping mall and train station were all attractions for potential buyers.
Have house, will travel: First Five Childcare Centre supervisor Jenni Mason, with Millie Watson, 2, hopes to move the centre’s building on to empty land in Porirua.