Concern over new tenants
By Lawrence Gullery
A wood-turners guild and a digital archive will be the first tenants to move into historic Hastings homestead Stoneycroft since it was bought into public ownership five years ago.
Hawke’s Bay Wood Turners Guild and the Hawke’s Bay Digital Archive organisations were given the nod to use the homestead as their base for the next 18 years by owners Hastings District Council.
The council’s works committee yesterday met to vote on whether the two groups were the best choice as the building’s new tenants and not everyone agreed with the combination.
Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers said she supported the idea of a digital archive but not its move into Stoneycroft.
“no matter how I look at it my gut tells me that this is not the right activity for this house.
“I have no problem with the wood turners using the shed but I just know there has to be a better use out there for this house,” she said.
Councillors heard normally a digital archive would be best placed next to a civic centre or library and Stoneycroft on Omahu Rd, was about 3km from the city’s centre.
Cr Bowers was also worried the tenants would be allowed to occupy the homestead for 18 years possibly ruling out chances of a more suitable venture to use the building if one should come along.
Other people, architects and archivist, had spoken to her at work and social functions suggesting the digital archive was not the best option for Stoneycroft.
Councillor Margaret Twigg told the committee why she supported both groups.
“We have a building that needs a tenant and these tenants need a building. If something comes up (other tenants) we can discuss it.
“That building has been sitting empty for years and it will be good to see someone use it,” she said.
Councillor Tania Kerr said supported a group which aimed to record the region’s history, turning into a building which was a significant part of that history.
The council bought Stoneycroft, a 130-year-old colonial house in 2005 as a reserve area for Lyndhurst urban development area.
It had spent $100,000 on repairs.
Three proposals were initially laid on the table as potential tenants for the historic Stoneycroft homestead.
The first was a plan for a Hawke’s Bay Wine and Food Centre but this concept had been withdrawn, leaving a proposal from the Hawke’s Wood Turners Guild and Hawke’s Bay Digital Archive.
The digital archive would use the building as its base for a scanning library where it would record heritage documents, photos and store data available for people to view.
The wood turners wanted to relocate their clubrooms and tutoring classes to Stoneycroft by using sheds outside of the main building. It would have to modify the main storage shed to work from and an old woolshed for a small shop and gallery.
The digital archive group planned to raise $335,000 through public donations and grants to pay for interior upgrades to the building.
Wood turners guild wanted to renovate the two outside buildings for its operations, or erect a replacement building on site. It would need $130,000 for the work, $70,000 of this cost would be funded by council but recovered through a rental charge.