Hastings District Council has welcomed the official opening of the new Wesley Methodist Church community centre on Hastings Street, making a new chapter for the long-time community facility.
Council says it has been just over a year since the foundation stone was laid for the new building that replaces the former 1953-built parish hall, which catered for a wide range of both church and public activities.
Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst and several councillors attended the facility’s recent opening celebration, along with members of the church community, the wider community, and church leaders from around the country.
“It’s wonderful to see the vision become a reality – we have long been looking forward to seeing this project come to life after more than seven years in the planning,” said Mayor Hazlehurst.
“There are many synergies between this facility and Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre and precinct.
“It will be a great resource for the community – still available to those groups who have used the old parish hall for many years, but also now a venue for others in the community needing a space to gather together.”
The building has three meeting rooms and an auditorium with capacity to fit 200 to 300 people. The auditorium is soundproofed so multiple areas can be used at once, there is a commercial kitchen, and wheelchair access.
Wesley Methodist Church parish steward, Olive Tanielu said people booking enquiries were already being received.
“We can’t wait to see it operational and being used by the community,” she said.
Toitoi Kaiwhakahaere Matua, Ngā Toi me te Ahurea – Manager, Arts and Culture, Megan Peacock-Coyle said the centre would add value and support the events run at Toitoi, with the potential to host larger conferences, using this building and its spaces for any overflow.
“It provides extra capacity that can be hired for events and meetings when Toitioi is full, and it will be a space where smaller shows can be presented, for events such as the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival,” said Ms Peacock-Coyle.