Three visions under perusal
A digital archive, a food and wine visitor centre and a woodturners workshop were all put forward as possible new tenants for the historic Stoneycroft homestead on the outskirts of Hastings.
But Hastings District Council yesterday held off making a decision on which would be the most suitable candidate to use the grand building and its grounds, which it bought in 2005.
Those presenting each proposal stood to tell the council’s community services committee why their group should get the nod to move into the site.
All submitters agreed the homestead was in a prime location, on the corner of Omahu Rd and the Hawke’s Bay Expressway, its colonial style architecture and history would be an attractive drawcard for visitors.
Most councillors, however, wanted reassurances of each project’s financial viability which prompted a decision for more time to peruse business plans.
The community Foundation Hawke’s Bay headed the plan for a digital archive and its board member James Morgan presented its plan to the council.
“It is about preserving our own Hawke’s Bay history before it is lost. There is nowhere else better in the world where this information can be saved for the region other than here in Hawke’s Bay,” he said.
Peter and Nicola McIntosh moved back to Hawke’s Bay a few years ago to begin work on a plan to set up the region’s first food and wine visitor centre.
Mr McIntosh told the council the Stoneycroft homestead appeared as an ideal place for the initiative, one which he had seen work successfully when he lived in Australia.
He envisaged the homestead would include a gallery, a cafe and a food and wine centre showroom. Outside sample vines could be planted to show the varieties of wine grown in the region.
Hawke’s Bay Woodturners Guild said the homestead would be ideal for a new workshop and the ground’s wool shed could be used as a gallery to sell work produced by its members.
Committee member Mike Brough said the group currently worked from clubrooms at Waiohiki near Taradale and was funded by Aoraki Polytechnic to tutor a Certificate in Woodturning course.
A detailed business plan for each application had been handed in to council staff but councillors had not had a chance to read the documents.
The council’s chief executive Ross McLeod said the councillors probably haven’t had enough time to consider all of the information presented at the meeting to make a decision.
He said councillors should take more time to read over business plans and look over the presentations again before making a decision on Stoneycroft’s future.
Hawke’s Bay Woodturners Guild: Wants to move into Stoneycroft to use it as a workshop for members and students. It could operate a gallery there to sell work made by its members. A room at the homestead could also be used as a meeting office for its 100 members.
Hawke’s Bay Community Foundation: Wants to set up Hawke’s Bay Digital Archive, as a place to record and keep the region’s history. Work includes specialist scanning machines to make digital records of 9mm film, a room to record oral history, computer access to the archive which could be linked to the National Archive in Wellington.
Peter and Nicola McIntosh: Want to establish Hawke’s Bay’s first Food and Wine Visitor Centre, a place for people to sample the region’s wine and a venue for specialist events during the quieter winter months. A regional history gallery, regional wine gallery and regional produce gallery could feature upstairs in the homestead.
Photo caption – NEW TENANTS: Three groups have asked to be the new tenants of Hastings District Council’s Stoneycroft homestead, near the Hawke’s Bay Expressway, west of the city.
PICTURE/ PAUL TAYLOR