Howick info centre staying closed for now says AK Council

Local people have expressed concern that the Howick Information Service has not re-opened following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The centre is used by many people to access Justice of the Peace services and civil advice.

The Times approached Auckland Council with reader’s concerns and were directed to a statement from an unnamed person acting as the Auckland Council Manager of Community Places, who said “Like so many other businesses and organisations around the country, Auckland Council is not immune to the impacts of Covid-19. In the early days of lockdown, to focus on essential business and manage the financial cost of Covid-19, we made the difficult decision to reduce our spending on contingent staff.”

“Now that we are in Alert Level 1, we are working hard to get our facilities up and running as quickly as possible so that Aucklanders can enjoy them again. We recently met with the Howick Local Board to discuss the reopening of community venues within the area.

“However, the lockdown period has presented staffing challenges that limit our pace of reopening. As such, we won’t see an immediate return to “normal” at all of our facilities.

“We are pleased to confirm the following opening dates for council operated community venues in Howick:

  • Fencible Lounge (Howick Library) opened 2 June 2020
  • Pakuranga Community Hall opened 9 June 2020
  • Ormiston Activity Centre planned to open 16 June 2020
  • Bucklands and Eastern Beaches Memorial Hall planned to open 23 June 2020
  • Nixon Park Community Hall planned to open 30 June 2020

The spokesperson added “Howick Information Service is a largely volunteer-run service with two staff members who manage the operation and support the volunteers. We have kept in contact with our volunteers during lockdown and continue to do so as we plan for venue reopening.”

Council wouldn’t be pressed on a date for the centre to reopen, however, “At the moment there is no confirmed opening date for the Howick Information Service,” said the Manager Community Places.

They said they are aware of the community’s’ needs. “We know how important the information centre is to the community and our staff is working to find alternative local venues for affected customers.”