The Roxburgh’s children’s village will not reopen in any capacity as Stand Children’s Services hands back administration of the site to the Department of Conservation (Doc).
Stand chief executive Dr Fiona Inkpen said the trauma and treatment service offered at the camp was closed in July because of a shortfall in funding.
But when researching alternative possibilities for the camp Stand discovered it was only the administrator of the land, not the owner.
“It is because it is health camp reserve, so it has a reserve status and so we don’t actually own the land – we have been the administrators of the land.”
“We didn’t fully understand that until recently.”
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said news that Stand was handing back administration of Roxburgh children’s village to Doc would come as “the final blow to those who had held hope that the village may have one day reopened.”
“It is a sad day for Roxburgh and for the children of the South and is the somewhat inevitable conclusion to the despicable decision by Oranga Tamariki, condoned by Minister Tracey Martin, not to give the increased funding required to keep the village operating.”
However the return of the land to Doc administration opened the door to conversations about how the former children’s camp might be able to be used, Mr Cadogan said.
positive outcome for Roxburgh than a mothballed situation such as we have had, although nothing will replace the village in the hearts and minds of the people of Central and the greater South.”
Doc statutory land management adviser Ken Stewart said Doc was at present processing Stand’s request and would be contacting the Central Otago District Council to see if it might have any suitable alternative public community use before a decision was made.
Dr Inkpen said there were around five to six staff still working from the village site, who would be relocated to another office in the region.
“We are probably looking at establishing our regional office in Alexandra.”