The Trentham Community House sold to Muslims will become another mosque for the Wellington region.
The Wellington Islamic Trust has bought a financially troubled community house in Upper Hutt.
The trust will use the Trentham Community House property as a new upper valley base and has long-terms plans to establish an Islamic Learning Centre.
Shaimud Khan, spokesperson for the Upper Hutt Islamic Group, said they had been looking for a property for a long time and the Merton St house would be a “good fit”.
Upper Hutt ‘s 40 Muslim families currently had to travel to Lower Hutt to their nearest Islamic centre.
Congregational prayers will be held on Fridays along with other group activities.
The group will hold an Open Day at the property, when it takes ownership in late May, as part of introducing itself to the community, Khan said.
Several organisations using the community house, including the Upper Hutt Multi-Cultural Council, would continue to be accommodated.
Originally built as a IHC school, the property was sold unconditionally for $590,000.
“It’s in a prize location and it’s a good buy for the future,” Khan said. “It is a big amount and the process is entirely based on donations by the community.”
The sale ends several years of financial strife and uncertainty for the Trentham Community House Trust which was set up in 2013 with the purchase of the building for $410,000.
More than $30,000 a year was needed to keep up with payments on an ASB mortgage and a loan from the Upper Hutt City Council’s amenity fund which it was forced to default on.
That debt was disclosed in 2105 when Community House trustee Chris Carson made a public appeal to the council to buy the property to allow it to continue operating.
That option was rejected with Trentham House continuing on only with some new funding sources including support from The Local Church, a Trentham-faith based group.
“However while the house was generating enough money to meet operating costs and loan interest it was not enough as envisaged to meet the loan principal repayments,” Carson, now a city councillor, said.
The sale was a good outcome “which would bring another cultural dimension to Upper Hutt and be good for the city’s diversity”, he said.
It does not mean an automatic end to the trust operations in some future capacity.
“That’s a decision for the future but we might be able to keep up some reduced activities.”
Islamic Trust buys Upper Hutt community house