The $3.8m Wānaka Hub is in dire straits according to Wānaka Community Hub chair Yeverley McCarthy.
McCarthy presented a submission for consideration in the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) annual plan last Wednesday stating “to put it succinctly, we are in trouble.
“Since we opened in November we have had a debt of $1 million,” she said. “This is made up of $500,000 from local benefactors that have contributed by way of loans at zero per cent. These loans come due in August of this year.”
A further loan of $500,000 was secured at 4.9 per cent last December. This loan is due in December 2020.
At that time the Hub had paid off all of its contractors, said McCarthy, but “being a building on leasehold land it is not easy to get loans on this level.
“As part of our code of compliance, the Hub owes another $40,000 to the council, which at this stage, we simply cannot pay.”
Arrow International, who were the initial contractors for the Hub, went into receivership early in the build at an unexpected $260,000 extra to the Hub. The organisation has met this by way of the loans raised.
Coronavirus has made a significant impact with all bookings for the building cancelled.
The budget showed that it could service the debt from income, but this is now very precarious with so many lost opportunities, said McCarthy.
“The Hub had been very fully supported up until coronavirus. It has been the centre for the flu injections, food vouchers...
“It has proved a valuable asset so far for a range of community activities as well as exceeding our expectations.
“And what are we doing ourselves?”
The Hub has a house it is putting up for sale within the next week. It is being built by Stonewood, and other local tradespeople. The Hub hopes this will provide a profit of $250,000.
“And in November we are running a two-day house and garden show in concert with the Aspiring Rotary,” McCarthy said.
“We feel this will certainly bring hope to our lovely village.”
The Hub urgently needs some monetary support from the council, she said.
“Successive mayors and councils have committed to the community hub concept, and we have an incredible asset here in Wānaka to serve the needs of the community.
“Please consider us in your annual plan.”
Read edition 977 of the Wānaka Sun here.