Plan inspired by TV show

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A parcel of land in Hampden will be leased out to Hampden Community Energy, which hopes to establish a community and school workshop and garden in the township.

A proposal from Hampden Community Energy and Hampden School was finalised earlier this year and included in an agenda item considered by Waitaki district councillors on Tuesday.

Councillors voted in favour of a recommendation to lease a section of Waitaki District Council-owned land directly opposite the school for the $150,000 to $230,000 project, should it go ahead.

Hampden Community Energy chairman Dugald MacTavish likened the project to the television show The Repair Shop, which features precious mementos being restored to their former glory, which he said was the group’s “inspiration”.

The proposal indicated there would be a need for an indoor workshop, a materials and arts workshop, an office, a social area, decking, toilets and the potential for building extensions if required in the future.

Planned for the garden area are pasture areas for grazing and cropping, vegetable garden plots, a chicken run, beehives, an orchard, a water feature, a storage shed and parking.

The proposal did not include a timeframe for the project.

Mr MacTavish said the group had about $50,000 available to get the project off the ground, but required external funding and the group was in the process of exploring available options.

Hampden School principal Matthew Hannagan backed the project and, via a pre-recorded video, explained the benefits the project could bring to the school and the town as a whole, which included giving children the chance to learn a variety of life skills such as sewing, cooking, woodwork and carpentry, among others.

“It fits in perfectly with what we are doing .. which is very important and something we are developing at Hampden School. It’s a win-win situation.

“We just think it’s a really, really workable concept and something that is going to be right on our doorstep and unique in North Otago. I think it’s the perfect location for it.”

A council report said the land to be leased to the group, between Lincoln and Norwich Sts, was at present licensed for grazing sheep and another portion of it was used for effluent disposal.

There were no plans to develop the land, the report said.

A lease had been drawn up and both parties were happy with its terms, council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said.

Cr Bill Kingan was impressed by the proposal.

“This is the sort of project that excites me. It’s great seeing communities like Hampden doing things for themselves … we need to make it easy for them to do so.”

The group also runs the town’s community recycling store at Hampden’s transfer station.