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New Aranui youth and community facility to go ahead

Christchurch City Council has confirmed it will build a new youth and community facility in Hampshire Street, Aranui - its first new community centre since the earthquakes.

The Council today agreed to progress to the detailed design stage, tendering and construction of the new Aranui Community Centre on the site of the closed Wainoni Aranui Family Centre, 31 Hampshire Street. The new community centre will open in 2015.

The facility, which will include activity, meeting and office space, will cost an estimated $5.9 million to build. It will replace the Wainoni Aranui Family Centre, which is currently closed and earthquake-prone, and the nearby demolished Aranui Community Hall in Breezes Road.

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has granted $1 million towards the new facility, which includes a $500,000 donation from an anonymous donor. Lions Club International will contribute $450,000 from international grant money.

Community Committee Chair Yani Johanson says the Council appreciates the funding support from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust and Lions Club International, which enables a much improved local facility.

"The Council is very grateful for these donors' generosity. This community has been particularly hard-hit by the earthquakes. The decision today helps deliver a more modern and major facility combined from two older and smaller ones that existed before. It will be well utilised by a variety of groups and people, supporting the social and cultural wellbeing of the local area. We're looking forward to breaking the ground later this year."

Unit Manager Community Support Carolyn Gallagher says consultation with residents has been ongoing since October 2011. It shows they are overwhelmingly in favour of the final concept plan developed and the site selected for the new community centre. There will be further consultation with residents around how the outside of the building should look.

"This is an exciting step forward for the project. The community's views have been central to this process and we've tweaked the initial concept plan based on feedback from the residents who'll be using the facility. We can't wait to see the delight on their faces on the day the new community centre opens."

Burwood/Pegasus Community Board Chair Andrea Cummings says residents are delighted the community facility will go ahead. "The way in which the community has been included in this process has been fantastic. A big thanks to Lions and the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust for their belief in the area and the new community centre, which will be a huge boost for everyone."

Lions Project Manager Digby Prosser says Lions are pleased to work with the Council again to support the development of another community facility in the city. "Lions were particularly keen to support this venture. It has given us the chance to help fund a new permanent facility in the eastern suburbs that will benefit residents by giving them a place to gather and participate in a range of activities."

ENDS

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