The Ocean Road Community Centre might still look like a big construction site, but the extensive alterations are getting closer to completion, led by retired builder Roy Opie.
Roy, who is nearing his 75th birthday, has been working on the renovations since November 2020.
He is doing the majority of the work himself along with help from retired gardener and landscaper Julian Chadwick who originally agreed to help one day a week – now doing around three, and Kevin Avery, along with a Saturday worker and a few others here and there.
One of the main focuses of the project is to make the building more user friendly for wheelchair users, making it more accessible.
The main entrance has shifted around the side, featuring large automatic glass doors, followed by a sliding barn door inside, which Roy said is especially good for wheelchair users as it is easy to slide open.
"We're progressing, we're getting there," he said.
"The meeting room is close to being completed with just lining and flashings to go, along with some finishing off to do inside.
Despite the majority of the work happening on the outside and entrances to the building, the project has turned into an 18-month project.
Replacing a bay window with ranch sliders has been completed, with the indoor and outdoor flow meaning "you can now come out for a drink and relax outside on the seats donated to us from the horticultural society", Roy said.
The renovations also include an office, a disability toilet, and the extension on the northern side next to the ranch doors which will enable a small protected outside space where people can sit.
The canopy roof, a covered area attached to the new entrance and allowing people to enter and unload vehicles without getting wet is mostly finished with just some spouting and flashings to go.
"As you know it's a voluntary job, it's been hard at my age, I'm almost 75.
"The inside is the easy part, the outside is the hard part - that is the majority of the job, but we're progressing.
"It would have been neat to get more funding to get people in to help me out, but I've been doing it and we're still continuing."
Funding has come from the Lotteries Commission which gave $150,000+GST along with a lot of sponsorship from people, businesses and charities who are highlighted on boards in front of the centre.
Because of the use it or lose it condition of the Lottery grant, many of the items for the fit-out had to be pre-bought and are in storage waiting to be installed such as the light fittings, tiles and bathroom cabinetry.
"The whole project would have cost around $600,000-$650,000 if it had gone out for tender, but with me doing it and the limited funding it's costing us about $300,000.
"But we are getting down in our funding."
With lots of painting and plastering to go, Roy is always keen to hear from more people who are able to help - both skilled people and those wishing to help with labouring and painting.
However, the project will be put on pause for the next two months as Roy heads off on an extended holiday before he returns to finish the job.
"I'm looking forward to leaving for a holiday down south in mid-February so there won't be much progress again until after March."
Roy said the project will definitely be finished this year – barring any Covid-19 disruptions.
The project would not be possible without help from Alistair Beissel from ANB Diggers, Winstone Wallboards, Shane Murland, Paraparaumu Doors & Joinery, Tile Warehouse Kāpiti, Zip Plumping Plus and PlaceMakers.
Anyone interested in helping Roy can give him a call on 027 248 0147.