Project site and activities
We are upgrading the Aro Valley Community Centre hall with the key objectives to have a building that:
- is better located for the Aro Community
- has a safer traffic thoroughfare
- allows for future opportunities with the pavilion building next door.
Expanding and improving the Centre will mean it can offer a wider range of services to the community.
The site is located at 48 Aro Street between Abel Smith Street and Palmer Street.
The community centre is operated by the Aro Valley Community Council (AVCC), with funding from the Council to support community activities and community development. The community hall plays host to a wide range of regular activities, including yoga, exercise classes, dance, music, public meetings, school holiday programmes, annual community fair, and social functions.
Also on the site are community centre offices, preschool, former tennis pavilion (unoccupied), Abel Smith Street garages, sports court, and a public playground, which is also used by the preschool.
Aro Park is next to the site, and there are many pedestrian links through and around the site. Wellington City Council owns the site and maintains the community buildings.
Project timing and funding
This project had a three-year design and construction project, approved in the Long Term Plan. It has a budget of approximately $1.2 million originally phased as follows:
- 2016/17: $48,247
- 2017/18: $109,935
- 2018/19: $1,056,251
Due to a number of limitations over the years, this project was delayed. It is now back on track with construction underway, scheduled to finish in October 2022.
Community design process
We supported a community-led design process. This meant allowing people who use the space to participate in plans for the site and building. The plans were inspired by community needs and future vision, including looking at what physical resources contribute to and support a strong and connected social environment.
Cost estimates were also one of the many considerations in the design process.
Other considerations include functionality, building and district plan code requirements, safety, environment, and neighbours.
Construction will involve the lifting, re-piling and repositioning of the building, constructing a new entrance extension and side extension, extending roofing, new cladding, insulation, new kitchen, toilets and office, and acoustic improvements in the hall.
The addition of an internal hallway will allow greater flexibility and access of concurrent users to an improved kitchen with an accessible-level counter servery and additional office space.
The centre will have ramp accessways at both front and rear of the building, additional decking, wider entrances, improved exterior lighting, and signage. New double-glazed external windows will be fitted, and existing windows will be upgraded.
Background and history
Aro Valley was part of the original New Zealand Company purchase of 1839. The Waimapihi stream, a valued fishing and fresh water stream, flowed down the valley and through the community centre site. Early settlers called the stream Aro, as it passed across Te Aro flats before entering the harbour near what is now the junction of Taranaki and Manners Street. The street, originally Wordsworth Street, inherited the name, and in 1926 the stream was enclosed in a large brick culvert and became part of the city’s stormwater system.
The community buildings at the AVCC site have been established ad-hoc over the past 40 years. After plans failed to build a motorway down Aro Street and through the site, the land was acquired by the Council in 1974. The former school site was intended for use as a park and community centre.
The community moved a prefab hall to the site in 1977 and further established a community hub with CAB offices, a preschool operating in the hall, and a community social worker on the site.
Further development of community facilities has occurred around the site, and the community centre is now part of a wider community precinct.