Anger at centre delays
Resentment is building over Meadowbank's community centre.
Manager of the centre Lynn Mosley says work on a new building needs to get under way as soon as possible. The 1940s building is too small, has little insulation and no soundproofing between rooms - making it awkward for groups trying to use the spaces at the same time.
Patching up existing problems will only cost ratepayers more in the end, she says.
"It's very depressing having to work in this building. We are constantly shuffling people around and looking for more space to put groups and store equipment."
In 2012 the Auckland Council committed $2.75 million to rebuild the centre in its long term plan for 2016/2017. But that's not soon enough for the Orakei Local Board.
The board and councillor Cameron Brewer have made several attempts to bring the funding forward.
Board chairwoman Desley Simpson, along with board member Troy Churton and Mosley, took Mayor Len Brown on a tour of the facility earlier this year.
"The message was utter support from the mayor," Churton says.
But at the May 8 budget committee meeting Brewer's amendment to spend $230,000 on early development work over 2014/2015 so that construction could begin in 2015/2016 was lost.
The mayor voted against the proposal.
"The mayor enthusiastically supported my motion last year for the governing body to have a serious look at it this year. However, come last month's budget meeting, he claimed the council couldn't possibly afford it," Brewer says.
"Almost all the councillors followed his lead. It's been a very frustrating few years fighting to get budget for this, but we are not giving up."
Simpson says the lack of communication from the mayor is difficult. "He has gone against council officer recommendations and a promise he made last term by not supporting it."
Mosley says the decision is unfair.
"People in this area pay some of the highest rates in the city and they've got a substandard community centre. I've worked here for 22 years and it's been a constant battle to get a useable facility."
A spokesman for the mayor says he is still committed to making the project happen. "The mayor continues to support the Meadowbank . . . project and looks forward to considering it during the upcoming long-term plan process."
East And Bays Courier