MEMBERS of the Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club and staff and clients from the Number 10 Youth One Stop Shop have been saved from possible eviction thanks to a private benefactor.
“[We] learned late last week that we will be able to stay in our present building for the ongoing future,” Number 10 Trust acting chairwoman Kaye Crowther said.
“We are very excited about this as we now have continuity and our staff and clients have surety around their workplace, and we can continue to deliver our services from 10 Deveron St.
“We are very grateful and truly appreciate the generous support of the benefactor who has made all this possible for Number 10.”
The community groups, which occupied the Invercargill City Council (ICC)-owned buildings on Deveron St, were told by ICC staff in August their premises could be demolished next year to make way for a $30 million medical centre development.
Following this announcement, a private benefactor came forward and offered to buy the properties the community groups leased from the council so they would not be required to shift to new premises.
ICC chief executive Richard King said the council had received an offer to purchase the Deveron St properties, which had been accepted. The sale was now unconditional.
He declined to disclose the purchase price, but said it was “in the vicinity” of $900,000.
One of the conditions of the sale was the benefactor would make the premises available to the community groups for a period of 10 years to provide them with security of tenure, Mr King said.
Previously Number 10 had a year-on-year lease and the bowling club’s three-year lease was due to expire early next year, he said.
It was hoped the medical centre development would go ahead in another location in the city, he said, as it was to be a “one-stop-shop” including GPs and medical imaging, which would reduce the pressure on Southland Hospital’s emergency department, he said.
“The council would provide the medical centre development with as much support as possible because the health of the community was important to the council,” Mr King said.
Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club president Sandy Kennard said she heard the news the bowling club was safe from eviction from Prendergast, who had been involved with facilitating the sale of the properties on behalf of the benefactor.
Mr Prendergast was expected to meet with members of the club to discuss the details further, so Mrs Kennard said she did not want to say any more at this stage.