Thursday, 20 September 2018

WHITIANGA WEATHER

A facelift for the Cooks Beach Community Centre

The Cooks Beach Community Centre has received somewhat of a facelift over the last few months.

Community Centre Committee members were responsible for bringing the hall into the 2000s and to make it more appealing, not only to the locals as it’s the gateway to Cooks Beach, but also to those wanting to utilise the building for clubs, weddings, celebrations and other events.

“Mid-last year we were successful in applying for and receiving a grant from Pub Charity for the hall exterior to be repainted and to replace the dated and mouldy red velvet curtains inside with
neutral roller blinds,” says Tracey Bowen, one of the committee members. “Generous local businesses and committee members then topped it off with building a new blackboard outside, excavating part of the chip seal and planting new greenery at the base of the building.

“We are yet to replace the handrail at the main entrance, which is the last bit of work we wanted to complete for now.”

The committee has reinstated their bimonthly Friday happy hours at the centre, often with nibbles sponsored by local businesses. They also have regular bookings of the centre bowls and pool and more recently Thai boxing and boot camp, with yoga to also start up soon.

“In June of this year we will again be holding our mid-winter Christmas dinner, which will be an evening of good food and entertainment by Whitianga’s ‘Let's Go Descarrego,’” says Tracey. “Let’s Go Descarrego is a band made up of two well-known musicians, Stewart Pedley and Leo Magri. Their vibrant music is influenced by the long traditions of folk storytelling, rhythm and blues, Brazilian percussion and the sounds of New Orleans. It’s going to be great night, the Cooks beach community must keep an eye out for the details.”

The Community Centre Committee hope to embark on a much larger refurbishment project in the next few years. They would like extend the existing hall out to the edge of the verandah roofline, erect a large, useable deck space with built in seating and install bifold doors. “We hope to create a good flow from the hall to the new deck and the adjacent Cooks Beach tennis courts,” says Tracey. “Another project we have in mind is to remove the old concrete water tank outside the hall and to replace it with a new tank in a more suitable location. We also would like to clear the swampy plant area to create a green space out from the proposed deck space to extend the hall’s use and offer a space for a marquee and possibly even gazebos for a regular market in the future.

“Parking is always an issue at the hall when events are on and there are possibilities of extending what is available at the moment and, in turn, to clear a messy overgrown area of bush.

“Obviously all of this comes at a cost, so we will be looking into possible fundraising opportunities alongside applying for grants.

“The population of Cooks Beach has grown considerably over the past couple of years with new young families as well as retirees moving into the village and it would be great to be able to substantially upgrade what is a great asset to our ever-changing community. Watch this space…”

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