The old Naenae Post Office building in Hillary Court could be given a new lease of life as a temporary gym and community space while Naenae Pool is closed.
Hutt City Council is currently negotiating leasing the building, which could open to the community early next year once it’s been earthquake strengthened and refurbished. Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says being able to restore one of Hillary Court’s landmark buildings to its former glory and return it to the community would be a huge positive for Naenae.
“We need to find a space for a temporary gym while the fitness suite at the pool is closed, but we want to also find a solution that provides benefits for the wider community as well, which this can,” she said.
“The Old Post Office is a landmark building in Naenae. It’s a cornerstone of Hillary Court with two streets frontages, and will give that area a real lift. It will also show what’s possible with some of the other buildings in the area if they’re shown a little love. ”
Jo Miller says early feedback in Council’s current Voice of the Community engagement project in Naenae has identified that additional community space is needed, given that both the pool and community hall are closed. If negotiations are successful the space will be available for a variety of uses, including activities to support the wider wellbeing of the community, and will also be used to deliver some of Council’s programmes and services.
“If the building is used by gym-goers and others in the community it will help to make Hillary Court more vibrant and bring in foot traffic to help the retailers. It really does tick lots of boxes as a way of supporting the community while the pool is closed.”
“Additionally, once the pool and fitness suite are re-opened, this will leave a legacy of an improved building in Hillary Court, which should make it more attractive for someone else to move in.”
The building was constructed in the 1960s and has approximately 380sqm of useable space. It’s well positioned for both private and public transport options. The proposed initial lease is for three years and decisions on what happens after that will be made as part of Council’s ongoing work on the future of Naenae’s town centre.
This week Council has also launched a survey to hear the views of former Naenae Pool users in the local community, the wider city and from around the region.