Business South August 2022

96 | Clutha Community Hub COMMUNITY New hub part of revitalisation project Kelly Deeks The new Clutha Community Hub is due for completion next winter. The Clutha District is starting to see some success from Council’s Living and Working strategy, with young people starting to come back to the area after a generation of decline. The new, quite magnificent looking Clutha Community Hub, now under construction and due for completion next winter, is a key project in what is a suite of projects to revitalise the district and help it to realise its potential. Studying its demographics after the population bottomed out at 16,800 in the 2006 census, Clutha District Council discovered it was losing its young people, and they were taking their vitality and vibrancy and consumerism with them. “We are 12 different communities within the Clutha district, and our social cohesion was breaking down,” says Clutha mayor Bryan Cadogan. “Every community group had the same treasurer and the same chair, and we were seeing fatigue in our communities. We were seeing disengagement and the rupturing of our community structure, and we had to do something to break the decline.” The Community Hub project was thrust upon the district when its War Memorial Hall was deemed to be earthquake prone in 2016. After community consultation, the Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust was established to drive the redevelopment project forward. “ I am so in awe of the commitment and dedication and actually the skill of this group in our community that has grab this project and driven it for thousands and thousands of hours of personal commitment,” Bryan says. He says the project’s design and build partner, Calder Stewart, has been so honourable all the way through this project and with the rising cost of construction, has even locked in the cost of the base build. “In this environment, that would be challenging for them. Calder Stewart is a local firm based in Milton, and we are proud to have them. They have put something bold into the design of the building, and that aligns with where we see ourselves as a district.” Proudly supporting Calder Stewart & Clutha Community Hub Industrial • Commercial • Residential “Quality Solutions delivered on Time” INVERCARGILL QUEENSTOWN DUNEDIN CHRISTCHURCH The Community Hub is one of a number of activator projects which Bryan says are bringing the cavalry over the hill to help with the revitalisation of the district. Others include a $6 million main street upgrade in Balclutha, a new destination toilet block at Milton, worth about a million dollars a year in trade to the local shops, and a new subdivision 10% the sze of the existing town. A $3.2 million dollar water pipeline project is also planned at Waihola to allow for more homes to be constructed there. The Clutha District has turned its weakness into its strength, with the population decline resulting in low house prices and a wealth of job opportunities. Community recovery programme Jobbortunities has facilitated 39 apprenticeships and filled more than 180 jobs since it started two years ago. “There are only so many things the Council can do, but the cavalry is seeing these things and is starting to come over the hill. We opened the new Countdown at Balclutha in mid June, after they said in 2015 they wouldn’t come because Clutha was in decline. They were probably the first to realise that something is happening here. “ Across the road from Countdown is the Hotel South Otago which is going to be knocked down with a new restaurant bar built in its place.”