The former tea kiosk building in Cornwall Park is one of the city’s signature historic buildings, and could be able to be used more by the wider community following a Hastings District Council decision today.
Originally built as a tea kiosk, rest room and community building in 1929, the facility designed by Hastings architect Harold Davies was used as a tea kiosk until 1970 when the kitchen was destroyed by a fire.
After this, Hawke’s Bay Playcentre Association (now Playcentre Aotearoa) was granted the lease and the Cornwall Park Playcentre has occupied the building ever since.
Their current lease expired in September 2019, but was extended another year in order to gather community feedback on the future use of the building during the Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan process.
Fifty five submissions were heard in regards to the draft plan that asked about the future of this building - 28 supported renewing the lease to the playcentre, six (including one from the Friends of Cornwall Park group representing more than 100 members) supported allowing alternative community uses for the building.
Over the past year council officers have investigated various options for how the building is used, and today council decided to extend the playcentre’s lease for a further six months until June 30 next year, and then commence renovating the building to create a hub that can be used by the wider community.
In moving the recommendation, councillor Malcolm Dixon said the decision acknowledged the submissions on the Cornwall Park plan that identified a need for a multi-use community space.
“This could include anything from Tai Chi to fitness groups, children’s activities, toy library and sports groups – I see this becoming a community asset just like the Mackersey Family Pavilion in Havelock North.”
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the decision represented an opportunity to provide a community facility, such as the Havelock North pavilion and Flaxmere Community Hub, which could be used by a wide range of community groups.
“These kind of facilities help bring people together for community and cultural activities and events, and at the moment there is a lack of options for the wider Cornwall Park community to make use of – a community hub to support a sense of community identity and belonging.
“The kiosk is really important for the Cornwall and wider Mahora community and they want it to be returned for the use of all groups.
“The playcentre is a valued community asset, and they along with other groups will be able to apply for and book the building for their activities.”
The planned renovations will also support a wider segment of the community being able to use the building and surrounding area.
They include upgrading the building, converting the rear extension of the building to provide an accessible public bathroom facility, and constructing an accessible playground, including liberty swing, next to the building.
The Disability Resource Centre Hawke’s Bay Trust is on the council’s disability reference group and supervisor Karen Elliott welcomed the upcoming renovations.
“Provision of fully accessible bathroom facilities in the park would truly make Cornwall Park a place where we can linger, a place that our whole community can truly enjoy together.
“Similarly, the provision of play facilities for those with sensory, mobility and/or learning impairments would immensely enrich the experiences the park can offer.”
Funding for the work is available in the current budget to provide the accessible playground and bathroom facilities, and a reprioritisation will enable the building enhancements works to progress simultaneously as one project.
15 October 2020
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