MEMBERS of the Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club and staff from the Number 10 Youth One Stop Shop have new hope in the form of a private benefactor after they faced having to potentially find another home.
The two community groups, which occupy Invercargill City Council (ICC) owned buildings in Deveron St, Invercargill, were told by council staff last month the buildings could be demolished next year to make way for a $30 million development.
Since then, both groups had been campaigning to persuade council not to sell the Deveron St properties to a commercial developer, and both presented petitions to the council at its meeting on Tuesday.
Number 10 board of trustees chairman Graham Fletcher said at the meeting there was an important difference between price and cost, and the cost in this case could be measured in social terms, while council had instead been “fixated” on the commercial developer’s $30 million price tag.
However, a private benefactor had since offered to fund a separate proposal to purchase the Deveron St properties, he said.
Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club president Sandy Kennard said yesterday the “situation had changed dramatically” due to this anonymous benefactor entering the equation.
“I really think we’re going to save the whole lot [of Deveron St properties in question],” she said.
Number 10 trustee Regan Thwaites said a meeting between the benefactor and council was held last Friday afternoon.
“It’s a very easy decision in my mind and I hope council see it that way too. [Accepting the benefactor’s offer is] a great option to keep what we already have in place, but it also removes the financial burden from council,” he said.
Number 10 youth leader Emma Prinsloo told council how important Number 10 was to many young people, and presented the councillors with a petition containing about 1600 signatures.
Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club support secretary Delma Sands also presented councillors with a petition containing 1800 signatures.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said no resolution had yet been passed on the Deveron St properties, but he assured the community groups involved they would be the first to know the outcome.