Revamped centre has council support

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 09:35 14/02/2013

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Insurers have accepted the loss caused by the fire which ripped through part of the Moutere Hills Community Centre last month and the popular hub will be rebuilt.

How long the rebuild will take and the full extent of the damage have yet to be determined.

However, Tasman District Council's property services manager Jim Frater said the centre could be completed by Christmas.

Investigators determined the January 22 fire in the council-owned building was started by an electrical fault in the ceiling of the function room and spread to the kitchen in the early hours of the day before the centre was opened for the school holiday programme.

Quick action by a woman who discovered the fire, alerted emergency services and closed the function room's doors before fleeing kept the fire largely contained to those two rooms.

The 8-year-old building was partly funded by the community and is community-managed.

Its smoke alarms did not work because the fire was in the ceiling above them. The building did not have sprinklers because it was not supplied by a pressurised reticulated water system.

Jim told councillors attending last week's community services meeting that insurers were weather-proofing the roof of the function room, making the gymnasium's top windows safe and removing debris. The gymnasium floor had been cleaned but there was concern moisture may have got into the timber.

He said the centre's management committee was keen to create a commercial kitchen and outdoor area around the adjoining former football club's changing rooms, at the western end of the building, to cater for winter sports codes.

"I think that is a good idea and the council should support it," he said.

Centre committee chairman Philip Leith said he did not expect the centre to be repaired any sooner than late this year.

He was pleased with the council's verbal support, but he had hoped it would help out financially with the interim outdoor facility.

Philip said the committee had raised about $10,000 towards the outdoor food and beverage area, which would be located on the car park side of the former changing rooms and cover an area of about 6 metres by 10m.

Unless the centre provided facilities for winter codes they would go elsewhere, he said.

He said the committee's next move would be to finalise plans for the interim facility and develop further fundraising events, the first of which he hoped would be held in the next month.

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