Te Newhanga Kāpiti Community Centre is closing.
Due to the centre no longer being fit for purpose, the Kāpiti Coast District Council announced on Friday that as a result of ongoing weather-tightness issues the centre will be closing and will not be reopening for any bookings or programmes.
Only two community groups, the Kāpiti Foodbank and Volunteer Kāpiti, currently occupy the building which was built in the mid-90s by a community trust with the support of council.
The centre was gifted to council not long after it was built in 1996 and for more than 20 years the centre was run at arm's length from council.
Council managed the day-to-day maintenance during this time and in July 2018 council also took over the day-to-day running of the centre.
People and Partnerships group manager Janice McDougall said recent assessments of the building showed it had continued to deteriorate and the council was not confident the building would be safe to occupy over another winter.
"Te Newhanga holds a special place in our community and we know it has an important role to play in connecting people and organisations.
"Unfortunately we've now reached the point where our ongoing efforts to manage the building are not enough to maintain a safe and healthy environment for centre users.
"It is no longer fit for purpose.
"Recent invasive testing showed there is an increase in decay and unacceptable moisture levels within the building's walls since the last time we tested.
"Our regular air quality monitoring shows this is having an impact on the air quality within the centre, which we anticipate will get worse once winter arrives.
"With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to close the centre until the building can be rebuilt or replaced."
The recent invasive testing showed that, despite remedial works, moisture ingress to an unacceptable level has been detected in three additional areas not previously identified.
There is also significant mould or decay in areas not identified in the previous investigation.
Air quality testing carried out on February 22 showed Penicillium/Aspergillus spore counts have increased in both the Totara and Pohutukawa rooms.
The amount of stachybotrys, which is also known as toxic black mould, and chaetomium, another mould, are the highest levels recorded to date in the Totara Room, which is currently empty.
Mayor K Gurunathan said the council was very aware of the gap created by the centre's closure, and has prioritised work to rebuild or replace the centre in the draft Long Term Plan 2021-41, which will be released for public consultation on April 7.
"The community centre plays an important role in creating social connections, providing collaboration spaces and accommodating important community services," said Mayor Gurunathan.
"Council has allocated $5 million across the next two financial years for investigation, design and construction work on a fit-for-purpose community centre."
"We will work with community and social groups and regular centre users to consider how a rebuilt or replaced centre can best contribute to our community's wellbeing, what this means, and what it might include.
"Our current priority is to continue to support current tenants Kāpiti Foodbank and Volunteer Kāpiti to find new long-term premises for their vital services by the end of May."
Mayor Gurunathan said the centre had been closed to community bookings in recent months due to ongoing uncertainty about the centre's continued operations.
Council were continuing to work with regular users and community groups to help them find new venues.
"Council staff are looking at community needs and whether the closure of Te Newhanga creates any gaps in community support services or facilities.
"This will include considering whether a temporary facility is needed within the town centre."