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Earthquake masonry brings St Martins Community Centre to life after six years

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Parts of the St Martins community lost in the September 2010 earthquake have again found purpose in its newly-opened community centre.

Masonry from a historic Centaurus Rd home, lost in the first major shake, was used for the new library and hub "for everyone in the community".

The six-month build was completed on its former site at the corner of Wades and Wilsons roads after more than six years of moving and uncertainty, officially opening on Monday.

Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board chairwoman Karolin Potter said since the former had to be demolished, residents had been without a place where all were welcome.

"The community always needs a place that's accessible, friendly, warm, safe and cheap … There's a community centre up Huntsbury, but [this is] a standing building that's available without question or an onerous amount of money, open to everyone in the community."

Hawkins interiors and special projects manager Andy Rowden said the relatively small, "but quite complex" space was built so all areas were utilised.

"When you drive by, it looks like the building's always been here . . . there are so many houses and things these days which just don't fit. This has a real sense of fit, I think."

Part of that involved keeping a tree which was present since the previous building closed following the earthquakes, he said.

Potter said the only thing she would change was its name, as "I think 'community centre' is relatively meaningless", and would have instead opted for something in Te Reo or simply calling it a library.

"[Libraries] are a separate source of comfort, solace and calm … I think libraries are the nicest places in the world.

"You know the Beckenham Library … people think of that as a human being.

"It's beyond a building that's down the road which they use. It's a beautiful thing that they love."


Source: Stuff.