29 September 2015
EAST Coast MP Anne Tolley opened the new Kawerau community probation site this month, built from two former state houses and refurbished by prisoners.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Heather Mackie said the two buildings, pictured, began life as state houses and were partially renovated during a prisoner education scheme at Spring Hill prison, Auckland.
They were moved to the site on Onslow Street, next to the Kawerau Enterprise Agency, earlier this year, and staff moved into the building in July.
Invited members of the Eastern Bay community toured the new site. Morning tea followed the September 18 opening.
The former Kawerau site was little more than a large shed, but the new facility has a number of meeting rooms, a reception area, an open-plan office, back deck area and a large shed for the centre’s community work tools.
Ms Mackie said the whole area was covered by security cameras as part of the site safety plan, and the building’s interior was designed with safety in mind.
She said the site would service 200 offenders from Kawerau and further afield. It was spacious enough to host programmes and courses.
Behind the shed is a large, open grassed area that staff plan to transform into a vegetable garden. Next door are two empty glass houses and three seed raising areas for preparing plants for the garden.
The area was previously managed by Kawerau Enterprise Agency but leased to Corrections.
Food grown in the area will be taken home by offenders or donated to food banks and other community organisations – modelled on the practices of Poroporo and Park Road gardens.
Source: Whakatane Beacon