All systems go for hub

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Plans to build the new Clutha Community Hub have kicked up a gear.

Last week’s announcement that construction of the Clutha Community Hub can proceed thanks to a $7.5 million grant from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners’ ‘‘shovel-ready project’’ fund was hailed by an ecstatic Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan.

Mr Cadogan said the grant was “an extraordinary gift”.

It would help the hub become a reality.

“The district owed a huge debt of gratitude to the dedicated team of volunteers that had spent thousands of hours considering options and getting the project to shovel-ready stage, and for central government to recognise the critical part this project will play in propelling our district forward,’’ Mr Cadogan said.

“For council to team up with central government at this critical time is transformational, not only to our economy but also to our district’s confidence.

‘‘This announcement green-lights the project and gives huge impetus to our recovery plan, while providing key infrastructure that would have required a huge fundraising effort if not for government support.”

Mr Cadogan said integral to the project’s success was that it would be community-led, with ownership, governance and management by the Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust.

“The trust have put in a lot of work and volunteer time to see this project come to fruition.”

Trust chairman Dale Anderson was delighted with the news and said it would allow work to start on-site this year.

“People may see activity on the site as early as October.”

Draft designs had been presented at a recent council meeting and would be shared with the community for comment in the coming weeks.

The next step was to finalise the internal design, which could be as soon as late August.

Mr Anderson has said previously the hub will honour its foundations as a War Memorial Hall and pay homage to those involved in its original creation, while fulfilling the needs of a modern community and inspiring the next generations.

The announcement came as the South received news of contributions by central government to projects across the region totalling nearly $50 million.

The hub was one of six Clutha projects that had been shortlisted for ‘‘shovel-ready’’ funding.