Call For Community Facility Grows

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Opinion: Call For Community Facility Grows
By Joanna Gould | May 10, 2018

I attended an antenatal class at the Shirley Community Centre 11 years ago and have been a local Shirley resident for the past 10 years.

I have a passion for research, learning and community spaces. The former Shirley Community Centre at 10 Shirley Rd was an iconic focal point of our community since 1915. It was originally Shirley Primary School, and later on our Shirley Community Centre, a place for cultural, educational and recreational activities.

It was seriously damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake, and was demolished in 2012.

Since the earthquakes, our community has been struggling to get our homes repaired and rebuilt. Two primary schools have closed, our roads are still damaged, there are detours and closures in place, and sucker trucks run throughout the night due to sewer system failures when it rains.

The Dudley Creek flood remediation is overdue by a year, and the ‘temporary depot/storage yard’ sites at 10 Shirley Rd and 40 Guild St are having a negative impact on residents lives.

Recently we learnt that the new QE II campus, built to relocate Avonside Girls’ and Shirley Boys’ High Schools, may change ‘our school’ zones, which will deny our children access to ‘our schools’.

And now, after years of waiting for the rebuild to start for our community centre, we have been dealt another blow. We find out that the funding granted by the city council has not been included in the draft Long Term Plan.

The 10 Shirley Rd site is a constant visual reminder to me, and the locals/road users of Shirley Rd, that our community has been left behind; we haven’t rebuilt from the earthquakes.

What message are we sending to the children at Shirley Primary School and the children from other schools that travel past this area?

That it’s okay to treat your community spaces like this?

Do our children matter to the city council? Are they not future Christchurch ratepayers?

Our community’s health is at stake. We can not wait 10 years. We need our community centre rebuilt now.

My suggestion is to combine city council resources with funding and donations to create a new Shirley Library, service centre, learning space and playground, with the existing Shirley Playcentre. That would lift up our community and give us a meeting place for all cultural, educational and recreational activities.

I created the website to collate my research and ideas for my submission to the city council’s Long Term Plan.

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