Shining a light on the hub heroes


Clutha mayor Bryan Cadogan

What a blast it was to attend the open day at the new Balclutha Community Hub and, more importantly, to see so many locals excited by what they saw. We all knew this building was a defining project, but it is not until you can see first-hand what an asset this facility will be that you grasp its significance for our district.

I am in awe of the group of locals that have worked tirelessly on our behalf, and had the courage to believe, and the capacity to understand, what a modern hub actually means.

I don’t mind admitting that if it was left up to my ability, we would have had a rectangular building that you put seats and tables in, because that’s what a hall is.

What locals saw on Saturday could not be further away from my limited vision — the hub is everything we could have dreamed of and so much more.

The building is on target to officially open in early next spring, and what started as a challenging position for our district, with the existing hall being rated ‘‘earthquake prone’’ and consigned to closure, now stands as a testament to our district’s new-found confidence and determination to positively move forward.

I don’t believe the committee that has worked on this project for what would now be tens of thousands of hours have received the accolades they deserve.

There has been the individual brilliance and drive from the leadership team, the endless meetings on cold winter nights, the pressure to perform, and to be prepared for public scrutiny. The times, where as a community, we have fallen back on the wealth of skill and community awareness that is always a cornerstone, like the ethos of Shand Thompson. Cheers Jim.

There was also the personal strain to the trustees who ran the gauntlet of personal fiduciary responsibility because, crazy as it is, the legal financial encumbrance fell on these individuals.

Most people didn’t have a clue about the personal commitment these people made and the position they willingly placed themselves in to ensure this project became a reality.

And I am proud that when the precarious implications of the impact of inflationary escalations were made known to council, that we did not hesitate to do what was right by our volunteers.

We are so lucky as a district to have community champions that are willing to freely give their time, skills, and passion to make our lives better. It’s been a few years since we started on the rounds of ‘‘Our Place Community Consultation’’, specifically designed to break our district’s inertia and create facilities that not only make Clutha a better place for us all to live in, but also have the ability to attract. It has been small groups of dedicated individuals that are the heroes of this transformation.

In the coming months there is a long list of projects coming to fruition around the district, and none of them would have ever started if it were not for a small number of people willing to do the hard yards on our behalf.

It’s time we shone the light on these people, and ensure they know how much we appreciate their efforts, because quite literally they are changing our world for the better, and we collectively owe them a huge debt of gratitude.