Sumner residents plea for $10m hub

LOIS CAIRNS AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 11:16 28/08/2014
Sumner Surf Lifesaving Club demolition
John Kirk-Anderson

GONE: The Sumner Surf Lifesaving Club is one of many community facilities demolished due to quake damage.

Sumner library
John Kirk-Anderson
NOW DEMOLISHED: The crumbling Sumner library pictured in January 2013.

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Sumner residents are getting impatient for new community facilities to replace the ones lost through the quakes.

In the February 22, 2011 earthquake Sumner lost three key community facilities -  the historic museum building, the Sumner Community Centre and the Sumner library.

Twelve other community meeting spaces in Sumner were also lost in the quakes.

"Never in our life did we imagine the loss of these facilities so dear to us,'' Peter Hansen, from the Sumner Residents' Association said as he and other representatives of the Sumner community yesterday appealed to the Christchurch City Council to get on with replacing them.

The council has been investigating options for replacing the facilities but they were only insured for $1.4 million.

It has had plans drawn up for a combined facility which has a library, a museum display area, community office on the ground floor and a community hall, kitchen and further museum space on the first floor, as well as a pocket park, but early estimates suggest it will cost close to $10.2m. Included in that cost is $1m for buying additional land for off-street parking.

A report seeking councillors support for the project was presented to the council's community committee in May but councillors decided at that stage not to commit the funding until they had reprioritised the facilities rebuild programme.

A reprioritisation of the programme was needed because the KordaMentha review of the council's finances revealed repairing or rebuilding all the damaged community facilities was likely to cost $212m - $121m more than the council currently has in its budget.

The outcome of that reprioritisation exercise was considered by councillors yesterday in the public excluded section of their meeting.

Hansen said having a new community hub in Sumner would really help to generate some new life in the village.

"It could be the glue that would help the village to function and to prosper."

The chair of the Fendalton-Waimairi Community Board, Val Carter, also appeared before the council to plead the case for spending $4m on building a new combined library and community centre in Bishopdale.

Her deputation was backed up by a petition organised by Bishopdale resident Merilyn Henderson, who had collected more than 3300 signatures in support of a new centre.

"If they (the lost facilities) were to be reinstated it would put the heart back into the community. I feel it's important you know how the community feels and how much they need and want the best possible version of the complex back,'' Henderson said.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck promised there would be some announcements around the facilities rebuild programme within two weeks.

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