Thursday, December 9, 2010

Te Takere Plans get Green Light

At the Horowhenua District Council meeting on 8 December 2010 Council gave the green light for revised Levin Community Centre plans to go out for public consultation.

The plans show a multi-functional $7 million facility which will be located in the old Countdown building as well as utilising the existing library adjacent. It’s hoped the facility will become a ‘heart and hub’ for the Horowhenua community. The building, designed by Architect Brian Elliott of Designgroup Stapleton Elliott, takes its inspiration from a waka and a ‘fly through’ of the building was presented at the meeting.

Five submitters spoke in support of the proposal – although some with caveats around the cost.

Cr Peter Keenan also announced the donation of a collection of rare bird prints by artists Bill Howard, Elaine Power and Russell Jackson on behalf of the Keenan family to the project. It is anticipated that the prints may be displayed within the new facility.

What is the proposed name and what does it mean?

Te Takeretanga o Kura-Hau-Po (or Te Takere as it will be known for for short) is the proposed name for the new facility and offers many different layers of meaning. Te Takeretanga means ‘dispersion of knowledge’ while the word ‘Te Takere’ means ‘hull’ – the place in the waka where taonga (treasures) are kept for safety. The bottom of Lake Punahou (Horowhenua) is also said to be the shape of a hull. Kurahaupo is the name of the Muaupoko waka.

What's included in Te Takere

Te Takere’s design, services and resources will appeal to all age groups. It will be free to visit, have good parking and be conveniently located to shops and other recreational facilities. Te Takere will be an ideal venue for performances, events, markets and fairs. Inside, it will be well equipped with services such as the café, toilets and baby changing facilities – all of which will encourage people to stay longer and enjoy their visit.

The plans show an exciting array of different spaces within the floor space of 4,080 square metres. These include:

§ The Takere –a large 500m² public exhibition, performance, function and social gathering space located in the heart of the facility and effectively connected to the outdoor civic space

§ Well equipped meeting rooms (of differing sizes and with several accessible outside of normal opening hours) which will offer meeting space and storage for local clubs and organisations, privacy for business meetings, and quiet areas for seminars and study

§ A Youth Area of approximately 250m² which includes spaces for social and recreational activity, group and individual study, mentoring and support

§ A safe, exciting and well resourced Children’s Area (of approximately 320m²) adjacent to an enclosed outdoor area

§ A comfortable and accessible 200m² Seniors Area (for relaxing, socialising, reading, meeting and participating in community activities and forums) which will include comfortable furniture, a TV lounge, news area and computers located near the Takere and the sheltered enclosed garden

§ A Te Ao Maori space (of approximately 150m²) which will located close to the entrance to Te Takere will reflect the heritage and history of all local iwi in Horowhenua and provide performance and exhibition space to showcase Maori arts and culture

§ A local history area (of approximately 100m²) which will provide information about the history of the district and promote local activities and achievements

§ Heritage and genealogy storage and research facilities (approximately 300m²)

§ A designated practice, content creation and recording facility (approximately 50m²) - designed and resourced to encourage people of all ages to record, preserve, share and showcase local stories, music and talent

§ A formal learning area of 200m² which will be used for local and at-distance education programmes (accessible outside of normal opening hours)

§ Exhibition and performance spaces located in the Takere (and including a small stage and associated equipment) as well as throughout the wider facility and the adjoin outdoor areas

§ A café (located within the Takere)

§ The main library collection (approximately 750m² to allow for improved access and effective display)

§ Reception, service and transition areas (which may also include areas for clubs and organisations to provide services and advice)

§ Public toilets

§ Work and storage areas

Who is behind the project?

The project is being developed by the Horowhenua District Council and the Horowhenua Library Trust in consultation with Muaupoko Tribal Authority.

Why does Horowhenua need this facility?

There are many reasons that a facility like this is needed in the Horowhenua District. These include:

§ The development of literacy skills – through the provision of accessible resources, mentoring and support for learning.

§ The Deprivation Index shows that Horowhenua District is more socio-economically deprived than New Zealand as a whole.

§ There is a higher proportion of teen parents; children and young people account for a greater percentage of crime in the District and a higher than average proportion of young people leave school without any formal qualifications.

§ Access to telecommunications is inconsistent and in many cases, unaffordable.

§ There is a desire to improve involvement and engagement between Council, Iwi and Hapu.

§ There is a need for an improved understanding of the Maori world view and a greater awareness of local history.

§ Publicly accessible space for cultural exhibitions and activities is needed.

§ Many community groups require support and improved networking between groups and volunteers are valued by the community.

§ The District would like to increase tourist numbers and encourage new business and industry.

This building is being developed in the context of a wider town plan for Levin and it’s hoped that the new facility will become a catalyst for revitalising the town’s centre.

Te Takere supports the strategic goals identified in many of the District’s key planning documents including Horowhenua District Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan, Muaupoko 2020 strategy, Council strategies on positive ageing, youth, education, arts, heritage & culture, disability and development and the Horowhenua Library Trust strategy.

How much will it cost and where will the money come from?

§ Building Te Takere is expected to cost $7 million. This is made up of the $1.8 million spent on purchasing the Countdown building in 2006, plus building costs of an estimated $5.2 million. The building costs are lower than they would be for a complete new build of this size, as it utilises existing buildings.

§ Because the project incorporates a significant Community Centre, it has been able to attract external funding. Over $600,000 in funding has so far been secured from various community grants and additional funding applications are planned.

§ Horowhenua District Council will contribute $2.4 million in total towards Te Takere – (this figure includes the $1.8 million spent on purchasing the Countdown building in 2006).

§ At Horowhenua District Council’s November meeting, the project received a massive boost with the announcement of a $500,000 contribution from a deceased estate, taking the total funding secured so far to an impressive $1.1 million. (made up of $600,000 in community grants plus $500,000 donation)

§ The shortfall in funding needs to be found through additional community grants, business sponsorship and community fundraising efforts. A public fundraising campaign will be launched early in 2011, following the public consultation process.

Project Timeline

2006 – The Levin Library expansion is first mooted and put into the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP)

2006 – Council purchases the old Countdown building with the intention of extending the current library and creating a community centre. Another company agrees to purchase the other half of the building, but negotiations stall.

2007 – Levin Community Centre Development Issues and Options Report is prepared by Opus International Consultants for Horowhenua District Council

2010 – An independent advisor, Nicki Moen is contracted to advise Council and the Horowhenua Library Trust on the design of the new facility.

August 2010 –Council agrees to utilise entire space of the Countdown building rather than half of the space as originally planned.

November 2010 – An anonymous $500,000 donation towards the project is received on behalf of a deceased estate.

December 2010 – Building designs and costings go to Council and are approved to go out for public consultation. Cr Peter Keenan announces the donation on behalf of the Keenan family of a number of rare bird prints by renowned artists

December 2010 – mid February 2011 – Council to undertake public consultation on the plans

For comment about the project, please contact:

§ Horowhenua District Council Mayor Brendan Duffy – Mob 0274 433 516

§ Muaupoko Tribal Authority Chief Executive Steve Hirini – Mob 021 651 958

§ Horowhenua Library Trust Chair Sharon Crosbie – ph 06 362 6551

For further background information about the project please contact:

Horowhenua District Council Strategic & Corporate Services Manager David Clapperton, Ph (06) 366 0980

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