A proposed multipurpose “community hub” is on the drawing board for Omakau.
The project, estimated to cost “in excess” of $2million, will be designed with existing and future groups in mind, for the benefit of the wider community.
It would replace the earthquake-prone memorial hall and ageing amenity facilities in the town’s domain, Omakau Residents Association chairman Colin Stevenson said.
A working group has been formed, which has been assisting the Central Otago District Council and Global Leisure Group, a specialist sport, recreation and community planning consultancy.
Global Leisure Group has completed its community consultation and has made recommendations in a final report to the council.
The community working group, which involved representatives from Omakau and Poolburn schools, the domain board and Matakanui Rugby Club, had reviewed the report and was pleased with the findings, Mr Stevenson said.
The report outlines three possible sites.
One is next to the existing rugby clubrooms, the second is overlooking the cricket ground and the third is next to the hockey turf, with access from Leask St.
The multipurpose hub would be designed so it could be used by the wider community, including the camping ground for overflow in the busy season.
“There’s even a community conversation about whether the Omakau Bowling Club relocates from its existing clubrooms and has a new green built next to the new community hub,” Mr Stevenson said.
“The community has asked for a gym to go in as well, some form of child daycare and the toy library may relocate to the new building.”
He said the aim was to make the facility a “living building” so it was being used daily, while also providing some income to assist in meeting the running costs.
A range of facilities in other towns, similar to the one proposed for Omakau, have been investigated as possible design options.
They include facilities in Arrowtown, Lawrence, Waikouaiti and Dunsandel.
The community had started fundraising and was looking at options on how to make it happen within three to four years after setting an “ambitious goal of having minimal to no debt if possible”, Mr Stevenson said.
“There has been great support from the wider community with discussions being held on how we can make this happen.”
Fifty percent of the funds raised from the Winter Feed Crop Challenge, which finishes tomorrow with an awards dinner, will go towards the project.
The challenge, which is into its third year, raised $70,000 in its first year and $80,000 in the second year.
Some of that money has gone towards the purchase of defibrillators for the Omakau Volunteer Fire Brigade and Dunstan Hospital.
The remaining 50% always goes to the Omakau and Poolburn schools and Omakau Earnscleugh Collie Club.
Money raised is comprised of entry fees, sponsorship, dinner proceeds and an auction.
Co-organiser Barry Murphy said, thanks to all its supporters, the event had continued to be a success.
“Everyone thought it would be a one-off thing, and then it went another year and then two years. It’s gone better than we ever thought [it would],” he said.
“It’s been a great thing for the community.”