Progress on community hub


Building a community services hub to house social sector groups grappling with funding shortages and hefty rental costs in Queenstown is a step closer.

The Wakatipu Community Hub Charitable Trust, formed in May, has hired Wellington-based consultancy firm Martin Jenkins to complete a $25,000 feasibility study about a facility.

The firm has spent the past two days holding brainstorming sessions with social sector groups, including Happiness House, Wakatipu Youth Trust, Senior Citizens, Salvation Army and Citizens Advice.

The aim is to find out what they want from the tailor-made hub.

The trust wants it built within three years, probably in Frankton. It’s tipped to cost about $15 million.

Many resort not-for-profits feel the cost of renting an office is a high risk to their financial sustainability, MacDonald says.

“It’s incredibly critical for some organisations who are facing losing their current premises.

“These organisations are here to help people, and should not to be wondering how they are going to find rent or which premise they are going to be in next month.”

Two private companies and Queenstown’s council have put money towards the $25,000 feasibility study.

MacDonald says the hub must cater for a range of organisations tasked with looking after Queenstown’s diverse population.

“It’s essential it works for people of all ages.

“Each group has a different way of working, for example, some have clients who come to them, some go out to see clients, so their needs are vastly different.”

The feasibility study is due to be completed by the end of next month and will be used to secure project funding from investors.

“When we went to source funding for the feasibility study, people were pretty quick to come to the party, so that was a positive sign.”

While much of the design detail is still to be figured out, the hub will boast meeting rooms and shared work spaces, with the potential for providers to share office items like photocopiers.

It’s likely around 100 hot desks will be needed, but the number of consultation rooms is unknown.

“It’s a massive undertaking, but it’s not beyond us.

“I firmly believe we can do it.”

MacDonald, who is also a councillor, points out the project is independent of Queenstown Lakes District council.