Nor West News : November 20th 2014
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Thursday, November 20, 2014 last Christmas children can visit the jolly red gent at the Kaipara Memorial RSA in Commercial Rd. The grotto set takes That’s the spirit ❝ By CARYN WIGMORE SANTA’S Grotto is getting the boot to make way for a new council development in Helensville. It’s likely this will be the around a couple of days to assemble and is stored in a large basement that is part of the RSA and Helensville War Memorial Hall complex. But Matthews says the council is planning a $2 million development of the basement so it can be used by other community groups. That means the RSA has to shift all of the grotto props it has stored there for the past decade. Disappointed secretary manager Graham Matthews says children will have their photographs taken with Santa at the RSA for the last time on December6–the day of the Helensville Christmas parade. ‘‘Next year we won’t be doing this because we’ve got nowhere to store the grotto,’’ he says. The grotto was given to the RSA by former parade sponsor Abbey Press on the condition that it maintain the tradition of allowing children to visit Santa in the clubrooms on parade day. Kids have their pictures taken and give their wish lists while they wait for the procession to reach Helensville. The council is planning to renovate and partition the basement below the clubrooms for community groups including the budgeting service, the toy library and the art centre, Matthews says. ‘‘We’re more than happy for them to move in but it feels like we haven’t been consulted on this like everyone else has, the plans have already been done and we’ve just been tossed out.’’ The RSA clubrooms are It feels like we haven’t been consulted on this like everyone else has. The plans have already been done and we’ve just been tossed out. – Graham Matthews too small to store the grotto and it would be impractical to house Santa’s seat and castle off site, Matthews says. ‘‘It’s quite large and takes two or three people to assemble it.’’ What will happen to the grotto is not yet known. The RSA has strong reservations about the development and its proposed glass frontage which it believes will be a magnet for troubled young people who already loiter outside the basement. Matthews says members regularly clean up after the youths who urinate, defecate and leave empty bottles and drug paraphernalia scattered around. Sergeant Paul Loft of Helensville police says he cannot comment specifically until he speaks to the RSA. ‘‘However it is disappointing to learn that there is a small number of youths within Helensville that believe it is okay to disrespect the grounds of the RSA with this type of behaviour,’’ he says. ‘‘I am sure that their parents would be just as horrified.’’ Loft says he will ensure patrols are aware and provide a stronger police presence in the central area. INSIDE Natural role Woodhill Forest is a huge adventure tourism attraction and business provider. How is it now managed? – P3 New job Meet the new head of Helensville police station enjoying grass roots community policing – P5 SPORT Smokin’ hot Grotto going: Kaipara Memorial RSA secretary manager Graham Matthews with part of the doomed Santa’s Grotto. WHAT THE COUNCIL SAYS Rodney Local Board chairwoman Brenda Steele says the hall will be retrofitted up to modern standards and is perfect for a community hub facility. ‘‘We’ve been conscientious that this is the only pot of gold we would ever get to fully enhance a community facility. ‘‘It’s the only community building Rodney is going to get under the present Auckland Council structure,’’ she says. Saturday 13 December Auckland Domain 7:30pm th Come join us for one of the happiest nights of the year! www.christmasinthepark.co.nz Proudly supporting The groups are expected to move in next year. ‘‘We’re really sorry but we can’t accommodate groups who used the storage area anymore.’’ The hall may also be used for plays and musicals. Go online to norwestnews.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see how animals and youngsters enjoy the Ag Days country tradition at nor-west schools. Photo: CARYNWIGMORE Fuming action from Helensville burnout competitors ends the season on a successful note – P19 E-EDITION © 2014 THE COCA-COLA COMPANY. ‘COCA-COLA’ IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF THE COCA-COLA COMPANY. “CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK” IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF COCA-COLAAMATIL (N.Z) LIMITED.
November 13th 2014