New community centre planned for Shirley

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2012
Shirley Community Centre
CARYS MONTEATH/Fairfax NZ

END NEAR: The Shirley Community Centre was damaged by last year's earthquake and will be demolished.

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A trust plans to develop a new community centre for Shirley after finding out the current one will be demolished.

The nearly 100-year-old Shirley Community Centre, in Shirley Rd near Chancellor St, was seriously damaged in the February 22 earthquake last year and has been closed since.

The Christchurch City Council has received a Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority section 38 notice of demolition for the building because it is considered dangerous.

Community services general manager Michael Aitken said that though the building was significant to the local community, it was too badly damaged to repair.

The Shirley Community Trust plans to buy and develop the abandoned Catholic church site in Emmett St as a new community centre.

Trust spokesman Graeme Mitchell said about 117 groups in the area had lost their premises in the September 2010 and February 2011 quakes and it felt like they were in the "forgotten suburbs".

"We are trying to secure a new facility that groups can use, as there's nothing left in Shirley," he said.

The centre opened as a primary school in 1916 and, after it was replaced by a larger school, the council bought it in 1977 to convert into a community centre, which was used by several community groups.

A demolition date has not been set. The future of the site will be determined as part of the council's facilities rebuild project.

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- The Press

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