By CASS MARRETT
Queenstown Playcentre’s on the move, eventually.
Based at Stanley Street since 1980, the playcentre was told by the Ministry of Education in August it’ll be moved on within the next 18 months.
The neighbouring site — currently occupied by Queenstown Arts Centre — will be cleared in six months, despite opposition from the Queenstown Art Society.
Mountain Scene reported earlier this month that’s to make way for either a temporary carpark or construction laydown site initially, before a new civic and cultural centre’s eventually built.
Queenstown’s council can’t confirm if the playcentre’s site will also be part of the new civic and cultural centre, but says an update will be provided to Queenstown Playcentre and the wider community in ‘‘due course’’.
Playcentre president Sarah Fredric says the relocation doesn’t come as a surprise, given the council’s been discussing the land with its owner, Ministry of Education, ‘‘for close to five years’’.
The two reached an agreement in May, but Fredric says they’ve been assured the playcentre won’t be moved until a new location is ‘‘available and ready’’ at Queenstown Primary School.
The school, on Robins Road, recently undertook a masterplanning exercise, one outcome of which was to establish an early childhood education centre on site.
Located 500 metres from the playcentre’s current site, the new digs are still in the planning stages.
‘‘We just want to make the best of it and there are some positives … it will be warm and double-glazed with lower maintenance requirements,’’ Fredric says.
The playcentre’s talking to its members about the move and, despite some early reservation, excitement’s building.
‘‘We have a lot of members who love our current site.
‘‘The outdoor space is particularly important to some of our members who may not have a lot of space in their own homes.
‘‘We’re also fortunate to have mature fruit trees that our tamariki love to pick apples and plums from.’’
She hopes the new site will have the same amount of indoor and outdoor space, and established gardens.
‘‘If we had carte blanche and we could have what we wanted, we’d ask for essentially the same as what we have now … but we know there’s a cost involved.’’
There’s currently no confirmed date for relocation.