Mt Pleasant community centre given $200k

A HAND-UP: Cr Paul Lonsdale said the community grant would "send a very positive message".
A HAND-UP: Cr Paul Lonsdale said the community grant would "send a very positive message".

The city council is going to give $200,000 to a Mt Pleasant community group so it can build a new community centre to replace the one it lost in the quakes.

The Mt Pleasant Community Centre and Residents Association has a $750,000 grant from the Lotteries Commission and nearly $1.5 million in insurance proceeds to put towards a new community centre, but it needs another $430,000.

Presenting the association's case for a grant from the Christchurch Earthquake Mayoral Relief Fund, MPCC president Derek McCullough told councillors today there was a strong need for a community centre in Mt Pleasant as the earthquakes had hit the suburb hard, with one in four homes requiring demolition.

McCullough said that for a relatively small outlay, the council would get a fully operational community centre for a fraction of the cost of other community centres that were being built around the city.

MPCC treasurer Jenny Long said it was estimated the new community centre, which would be slightly smaller than the original, would cost $2.9 million to build. It was hoped construction could start in August or September, with completion scheduled for early in 2015.

Council staff were only recommending giving the MPCC a grant of $100,000 but councillors voted to double that.

Cr Yani Johanson said the shortfall in the funding the MPCC was facing was due partly to the council's failure to get the building properly insured.

He said MPCC had explored numerous options to reduce costs and there was a "nervousness'' among the group about proceeding with the project when there was still such a significant funding shortfall.

"I do worry if we don't give extra funding, the external funding will disappear,'' Johanson said.

Cr Paul Lonsdale also urged councillors to increase the grant.

"This is more of a hand-up rather than a hand-out,'' he said. "It would send a very positive message out to a community that has been hit very hard.''

The Press