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Future of Ingram kindergarten on the line

April 7th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Parents and friends of the Laura Ingram Kindergarten met with Motueka councillors today to protest suggestions that the kindergarten be replaced by car parking for an extended library.

Despite surveys and submissions over recent years requesting that Motueka have a new library as part of a community hub in Decks Reserve, TDC staff are now suggesting a preference to remove the kindergarten and the Senior Citizens rooms to make way for an extension for the present library and space for car parking.

They have told the kindergarten that the present lease does not run beyond next year, and that the temporary nature of the current lease has been known for some 15 years.

Meeting organisers Emma Baker (left) and Carolyn Gray

Listening to their concerns and explaining aspects of the situation were Cr David Ogilvie, Cr Peter Canton and community board member Claire Hutt.

They heard that without land security, the kindergarten cannot go ahead with any upgrades or extensions to handle the growing roll and bring the facility up to modern standard, or to fix stormwater problems.

The Laura Ingram Kindergarten was opened in 1965 on land gifted from the local council, behind the present library and beside Memorial Park. The original lease ran out in 1982 and for reasons now unknown was never renewed.

TDC will not provide a long-term lease on the site, saying it has been earmarked in the long term plan for future developments related to the library extension.

The kindy is licensed for 44 children and is full. There are five teachers, an administrator and two teacher aides working in full or part-time positions.

The umbrella organisation Nelson Kindergarten Association has purchased a small site for Laura Ingram in Courtney Street with an old school house on it, offered to them by the Ministry of Education.

Women at the meeting said this was most unsuitable, being far too distant for most of their catchment and a long way from other community facilities.

"This part of Motueka [beside Memorial Park] has so many things appropriate for our growing young demographic - the Family Service Centre, Parklands School, the early learning centre, the library and Memorial Park," said one mother.

"The central location is easily walkable for everyone," said another. "It has a logical catchment in the growing new areas of West Motueka, and being beside the park is great for games and excursions."

Everyone at the meeting agreed that we would be much better Motueka as a whole to have a new library built as part of a community hub in Decks Reserve, a proposal which has proved popular in recent surveys about Motueka's library needs.

"Perhaps the small number of people opposing any changes to Decks Reserve don't realise that the alternative is to knock down the Senior Citizens rooms and our kindergarten," said another mother.

The group will be using a Facebook page, "Save Laura Ingram Kindergarten", to alert people to the possibility of bowling the kindergarten and encourage people to let Council know their feelings on the matter.

Comment by Miriam Lois Gratton:
[Posted 7 April 2017]

The Tasman District Council is an "Indian Giver". We all need to get behind Laura Ingram Kindergarten.

Comment by Rex Edwards:
[Posted 7 April 2017]

Is there some sort of baffle between Motueka and Richmond that prevents the bureaucrats in TDC actually hearing and comprehending what the folks here want?

Comment by Lynette Mytton:
[Posted 7 April 2017]

The library needs to be built in Decks Reserve Hub, and the Kindy and Senior Citz's need to stay where they are. I was horrified to read that in last nights paper.

Comment by Liz and Tony Small:
[Posted 12 April 2017]

What is more important, cars or children? The kindergarten should be given an extended lease to allow the teachers to stop worrying about the insecurity of their situation and focus on the business of providing an excellent educational resource for the young families of Motueka. The setting for this kindergarten is great-a park to access; a library to visit; tennis courts to see people playing; a playground next door; a school over the road.To remove the kindergarten will reduce the area to a soul-less area of black asphalt.

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