Council seeks feedback on centre proposal

Submissions are due in on Monday, June 20 for the proposed permanent St Albans Community Centre building. Consultation meetings have been taking place during the first two weeks in May.

The following concerns were some of those raised at the consultation sessions:

The planned building faces south – New Zealand buildings usually face north.

The toilets have been placed near the entrance of the building (they were in a similar position in the old centre before a kitchen was added) but a trek to the meeting rooms.

The kitchen does not have a door. It is open.

The building can cater for up to 200 people at peak times but only 18 car parks, including a single disabled car park, have been allowed for.

There is a grassy courtyard with the cabbage tree which will be part of the building when the doors are closed but open onto the car park in summer and provide park like space. Some people see this as a feature and others see it as a waste of space when there is a shortage of rooms available to community groups. It could become muddy in winter. The path way down the south side of the building to the car park could get frosty in winter.

Some of the meeting rooms in the planned centre may have floor to ceiling glass, as in corporate offices. This building is a community centre and that won’t go down well with groups wanting a little privacy and others who may feel they are in a goldfish bowl. Council staff say it is for safety reasons.

There appear to be no casual seating areas where people can just drop in for a cuppa and a chat. This is fundamental in a community centre.

There has been limited (or no) consultation with the current centre users (or displaced former users) and the centre manager over their needs, prior to the concept design being drawn up, otherwise the corporate-style, floor to ceiling glass walls for the meeting rooms would have been rejected early on.

Some facts – the building will be built on 10 metre plus piles and be built around 450mm higher than present as 1047 Colombo St is part of the flood plain. It is a single storey building, although theoretically it could go up to 11 metres high (not that we are suggesting anything beyond two storeys), stretching from Colombo St to Caledonian Rd. The car park would go on a site in Caledonian Rd bought in 2010 for that purpose.

To finish on a positive note, the working party/council staff have done well to come up with a centre with a range of different room types, from rooms with eight people through to 135 (the hall) and the building has been designed to cope with the flood plain and earthquakes.

For more information and to view the interior design visit: If you have any concerns about the building or want to make suggestions for alternative rooms arrangements or feel there are aspects that have been overlooked in the concept design, Council staff have been encouraging submissions.

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About belinda

Involved with St Albans Community Resource Centre and NeighbourNet since 1997
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