Instead of celebrating its 50th jubilee, families at Hastings’ Cornwall Park Playcentre are devastated they are now facing an uncertain future.
This week the Hastings District Council decided that the former tea kiosk building in Cornwall Park, home to the Playcentre since the 1970s, could have wider use by the community.
The Playcentre’s lease, which expired last year, was extended for another 12 months while the council investigated future uses of the building.
Its decision this week means the lease will now expire in June next year and work will begin on creating a “community hub”.
Cornwall Park families say they were blindsided by the decision and the council has acted in bad faith.
Its president, Susy Ratcliffe, says eight months is not enough for the Playcentre to sort out its future.
“On a number of occasions, the Mayor, Sandra Hazelhurst, has promised that we would not be evicted without enough notice to raise funds and find an alternative home,” she says.
“Consultation becomes meaningless when the option that the council staff consulted us on, is thrown out at the last minute.
“We feel blindsided as our discussions with council staff were so positive and given the recommendation put forward by staff was to not just extend our lease, but to allow us to have other community groups share our space.”
The acting General Manager of Playcentre Aotearoa, Thomas Tawhiri, says the council decision is disappointing.
He says the national body will be working with the Cornwall Park Playcentre to look at what alternatives are available to ensure the Centre, which has a long history, continues.
For further information:
Cornwall Park Playcentre president, Susy Ratcliffe, 021 0845 2598