Demolition provides closure for community

Victory shade house torn down after brutal rape

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 07:46 25/01/2013
Victory gardens
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
TEAM EFFORT: Caroline Budge, left, Becky Bennett, Aimee Birmingham and Holly Drummond work at dismantling the shade house at the Victory Community Gardens.

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The Victory Community Gardens shade house where a volunteer was brutally raped on New Year's Day has been demolished by the community, as a way of moving on from the attack.

The victim remains in the care of family outside Nelson, but yesterday a group of volunteers from the gardens gathered to remove the building.

Last week about 200 people gathered at the community centre for a blessing and reclamation of the gardens.

Victory Community Centre manager Kindra Douglas said removing the shade house would allow the space to be used for something positive.

The shade house would be reconstructed on another site in the gardens, and the site of the old shade house used to plant a feijoa hedge to act as a screen and provide fruit for the community.

The move was for the victim as well as the community, she said.

"This is about clearing the space away so when and if our volunteer comes back, it feels different and renewed."

There had been a shade house in the garden since 2008, but the first one had burned down in 2010, she said.

Volunteer Becky Bennett, who has worked at the garden since 2009, said taking down the shade house would let the group move on.

"We have had the blessing, people are more comfortable coming to the gardens, it will be nice to start afresh."

Fellow volunteer Andrea MacGregor said the victim was a fabulous woman, and the group would do absolutely anything to make sure that the garden was thriving when she returned.

Volunteers would also install a gate through to the Nelson City Holiday Park on Vanguard St, allowing deliveries of bulk goods such as sawdust and manure.

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