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.

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