Following the success of the Walter Nash Centre in Taita and the Koraunui Stokes Valley Hub, Council has brought forward funding for the Naenae Community Hub in the 2018 Long Term Plan (LTP). The LTP continues investment in Council’s key strategies for infrastructure, urban growth, leisure and well-being and environmental sustainability.
Tenders will soon be sought for the $8 million project, with construction scheduled to begin in 2019. The multi-purpose facility will be built on the site of the current Naenae Community Hall. Once the programme of work has been confirmed, Council staff will work with community hall users to find alternative options during construction of the new facility.
“We want to offer opportunities and experiences that empower tamariki and whānau in the communities that need it most. Our community hubs combine sports and recreation facilities, libraries, arts and community led services. The creation of flexible spaces helps us maintain relevant and multi-purpose facilities for the whole community to use,” says Mike Mercer, Council’s Divisional Manager of community hubs.
About 1000 people responded to a community consultation about the Naenae proposal, with key themes being that they wanted library services and flexible spaces which can be used for anything from sports and recreation to events, meetings and classes. Council’s design brief includes a large space which can be used for sports/activity, as well as for concerts and conferences, a library, medium sized spaces for a range of activities and small spaces for community meetings and service providers such as Plunket.
Mr Mercer says the hubs reinvigorate the areas around them and provide many opportunities for the community. "The hubs in Taita and Stokes Valley have exceeded our expectations. When the Koraunui Hub opened in November 2017, the projected attendance was 150,000 people per annum, but actual numbers are tracking to 240,000 per annum. The number of different user groups who previously used separate facilities has tripled in the hub’s first six months,” Mr Mercer says.
The larger Walter Nash Centre, with five indoor and 11 outdoor courts as well as the Taita Library and meeting rooms receives more than 800,000 visits per year (an average of 70,000 per month) and has hosted prestigious events such as the Hutt Valley Sports Awards and Symphony in the Hutt, a free family concert by Orchestra Wellington attended by more than 1000 people.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says the new hub will be a fantastic facility for the local community and is another example of Council’s vision to rejuvenate the city.
“Council is committed to investing in our facilities, especially in communities where access to the services they provide is needed most. This new Naenae hub will become a valuable asset for the community and allow young people and their families to reach their full potential.”
Hutt City councillors for the eastern ward, Glenda Barratt and Lisa Bridson say there is a lot of support for the new hub. “During the consultation process more people expressed the need for a community hub in Naenae than any other area, which shows the community’s need for something that will truly bring whānau and families together. As part of the city rejuvenation process the new Hub will allow for a multi-purpose facility which will encompass local groups and identities all under one roof. This is an exciting new venture for Naenae and a continuing step in the revitalisation of a tired area that is still special to Naenae residents,” Mrs Barratt says.