The development of the Taita Centre is set to take a big step forward with the establishment of the Community Facilities Trust and the appointment of its trustees.
Former All Black Andy Leslie will join businessman and community funding expert Alister Skene, lawyer Kirsten Patterson, accountant Paul Blacker, councillor Ken Laban and commercial property specialist David Butler on the Community Facilities Trust, a Council-controlled organisation, which held its first meeting on 30 July.
Community Services general manager Matt Reid says that the council is delighted with the team who all bring excellent skills and experience and most significantly strong community affiliations.
Mr Skene, who was elected chair by the other trustees, says all six members are passionate about ensuring Hutt City residents have access to the very best community facilities and services. He also says the trust want to get on with the development of the Taita Centre.
"We're anxious to get the plans off the drawing board and into reality. Our priority will be to get a fundraising campaign going to close the $3 million gap between the $12 million cost and the $9 million provided by the council.
"Building partnerships with a variety of groups and individuals in the community will be vital to our success. The task ahead is not merely about managing and redeveloping sports and leisure facilities throughout the city but doing so in a way that benefits the whole community and makes the best use of every dollar we spend.
"That's why our work will be guided by the draft Integrated Facilities Plan being developed in consultation with Council, which aims to create a series of hubs clustering together courts, grounds and halls so we get the maximum value for our investment, avoid any duplication and provide the best-quality facilities to residents."
Hutt City Council has committed $6 million over the next three years in direct funding to the development of the Taita Centre, along with a $3 million loan. With resource consent approved for the project, trustees will work with the council and the community to start the development.
A key feature of the upgrade will be the expansion of the number of indoor courts from two to five. There will also be a community library, meeting spaces, offices, gym and cafe.
Mr Skene says the trust will put immediate focus on the Taita Centre while also working on wider city opportunities, most notably Fraser Park, as well as other projects in line with the Integrated Facilities Plan.
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