Asbestos danger leads to closure Compassion Aubert Childcare

The Sisters of Compassion have announced that Aubert Childcare building, which is located at the Sisters’ Centre in Island Bay, Wellington, will have to be closed because they cannot afford to replace the building’s asbestos roof, which is crumbling, causing a health hazard. The building will be closed at the end of the 2012 childcare year.

As a temporary measure a sealant has been sprayed on the roof, but in the longer term the roof will need replacing if the Aubert Childcare Centre is to continue operating in the building. Remediation of the grounds, with top soil, bark and sand would also be required and grassed areas would have to be replaced. The estimated cost of replacing the roof is $500,000. But could be more if the removal of the roof revealed additional problems .

After the Directors of Compassion considered the Sisters’ mission, the ageing of Sisters, their resources, the costs of repairing the Centre’s roof and outdoor play areas, together with increasing costs of maintaining and insuring all buildings currently used for Mission services they concluded that they could no longer keep the Aubert Childcare Centre open.

The head of the Sisters of Compassion, Sister Margaret Anne Mills, said there has been much debate and dilemma regarding what to do with Aubert Childcare. She said its foundations were built on service to the poor and needy; the Centre was founded as a residential home for disadvantaged children.

Sister Margaret Anne quoted an article about the Sisters written in 2007: “Many Sisters shared in the nursery and childcare work over the years and the fact that the Childcare Centre at the Bay continues to provide care for young children and help for parents reflects our belief that our Mother Foundress continues to watch over her children.”

She said that she too has a sense that Suzanne Aubert continues to watch over ‘her’ children, but, “Time has passed and there have been many changes in the Bay. The childcare centre of today generally caters for the local Island Bay community.

The Sisters say they are conscious of their responsibilities to their benefactors, who bequeath funds for the care of those disadvantaged in the community but the childcare facility no longer falls within the Sisters’ core purpose and they feel it would not be appropriate to spend such a significant sum repairing the building for a purpose that is no longer in keeping with their mission.

By a strange coincidence, the building which houses the original creche in Buckle St also figured in the news on the same day as the sisters announced the closure of the Island Bay building. The Buckle Street building, which now has Heritage status, stands in the way of the proposed Basin Reserve Flyover. It may not be demolished and will have to be shifted should the building of the fly-over proceed.


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News category: New Zealand.

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