Healing touch for Centrepoint site

By Anne Gibson

A large part of the Centrepoint property at Albany, once a controversial commune,

is about to become a place of healing and teaching.

The principal of the Wellpark College of Natural Therapies, Phillip Cottingham, said he had bought the 7.6ha site from the Public Trust.

The trust sold it on behalf of the Community Growth Trust, successor to the Centrepoint Community Trust which was shut in 2000.

The Mills Lane site, off Oteha Valley Rd, will be renamed the Wellpark College North Shore Campus and will be used for a research centre in natural medicine and for courses in aromatherapy, nutrition, naturopathy, herbalism, yoga and ayurvedic medicine.

Tutors and students would live on the site, Mr Cottingham said, but Wellpark's main campus would remain in Grey Lynn.

Centrepoint was home to the cult led by spiritual leader Bert Potter and others, who were convicted on child sex charges,

The rundown remains of their commune include a commercial kitchen, a pottery studio, a creche, dwellings, arts and crafts studios, tennis courts and a 25m swimming pool.

QV lists the 7.6ha site at 14 Mills Lane as having a capital value of $4.8 million - $1.5m million for the land and $3.3 million for the buildings.

Mr Cottingham plans to immediately spend up to $300,000 rebuilding accommodation, kitchen and toilet facilities.

But up to $1.5 million would be spent on the property in the next three years, he said.

Because of its history, the site would be cleared and blessed by local iwi, Mr Cottingham said.

A group of former Centrepoint members said in May they wanted the land to become a public reserve and community centre and selling the site to a developer would be "unethical and immoral".

But Bayleys marketed the property near the Albany Mega Centre. Tenders closed on December 4.

Simon Dixie, a spokesman for the Public Trust, said his organisation was pleased with the result.

"We are very satisfied as we believe the property is going to a good home," he said.

"Not only has a price been received that was above valuation, but Wellpark has undertaken to preserve this beautiful natural area."

Mr Cottingham said he wanted to make the swimming pool and facilities for craft, dance and yoga available for the wider Albany and North Shore community.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 25 Oct 2014 18:46:06 Processing Time: 1514ms