Colihaut Community Centre - Colihaut, Dominica
What would having a Community Centre mean to you ....
Submitted by Colihans
Charlene L. Charles - Age 18yrs
It would help me in that whenever I need to research a topic I would not have to pay money to go right to town. It would already be right in my community. Also having a Community Centre in my village would help me become better educated about computers seeing that I would have more time to spend on the computer. It would also keep us young children off the streets, off drugs and out of trouble.
Bernard R. Gabriel - Age 33yrs
A Community Centre would ease the pain of youth groups finding a place for meetings and seminars.
A Community Centre would help the people in line of wedding reception and conferences. A Community Centre will help visitors and nationals with more community information in line of culture, heritage and history.
Laureen George - Age 38
Having a Community Centre in Colihaut means a lot to me. First of all we have a lot of groups in our community and sometimes to meet at a venue is a problem or to have a talk, show or some other activity like Miss St Peter or other shows. Right now we are having different classes under the Adult Education fund. There’s a sewing class and because we don’t have a proper place to put our sewing machine we can’t sew. So that's a very good reason why we dearly need a Community Centre.
Carel. S. Jno Baptiste - Age 17yrs
Having a Community Centre in Colihaut would mean:
A place for children to occupy themselves.
A place for local activities to take place; such as meetings, weddings, etc.
A place for children to be facilitated with items that are convenient to their education. To occupy teenagers who are unable to go to college like myself in getting a voluntary job at the centre.
A place where the village council and community post-office can be held.
It also means a safe environment where young people can be away from drugs, gangs and violence and a beginning to a bright future and chance in pursuing their dreams.
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There have been cries for a Community Centre from various communities in Colihaut for over the last 40 years. To date there have been no formal plans for the development of one. The Village Council, Colihaut in Focus UK, New York and Colihaut are now responding. Colihaut in Focus UK spear headed a focused community consultation in Colihaut in December 2004. Among the outcomes of this process was the submission of three design ideas. At a public meeting convened by CIF UK, New York and Colihaut in Feb 2005 we discussed five possible venues for the location of the building. This was followed by a further Colihaut Village Council consultation that year after which the site of Rock Boys was agreed upon. In May 2005, Colihaut in Focus organized a meeting in the UK attended by an architect, group members and an economist from the Dominican ministry of Finance to assess the submissions and write a design brief to take the process further. The two days of workshops reported on in this document was aimed at crystallizing the results to date, agree on a final design and a work plan for the project. It ran from 10am - 2pm on Saturday and 2pm - 5pm on Sunday. This is report reflects the major issues discussed, decisions taken, and the agreed way forward.
In attendance over the two days were the following: Avertina Blondel, Ezekiel Blondel, Alan John, Ezra Blondel, Barbara Vidal, Arthur Knight, Kamika Philogene, Hefner Daniel, Renicle George, Hon Ronald Toulon, F.O. Riviere, Riviere Sebastian, R. Charles, Isaiah Blondel, Vertilles Peter, Marveline Langlais, Larry George, Cyril John, Carlyne Philogene and A. George representing the council, sports group, musical band, the Colihaut Bann Mové Group, the retired, youth, preschool, Colihaut in Focus UK., the churches, fisheries division, and agriculture division. The current and past parliamentary representatives for Colihaut were both in attendance.
The purpose of the community centre project is to provide a focal point for recreational, social, educational and human resource development services for Colihaut and the wider Dominican community, in a sustainable manner.
The site: There was concern expressed about the suitability of the site in light of the effects of global warming and the expansion of the village. We identified and discussed, very briefly, the other five sites. The only other which seemed an alternative viable possibility was the sports centre at the top of the village. However we agreed to move forward on the Rock Boys site as the Village Council was satisfied with the process by which it came to this decision, the negotiations with the physical planning and community development divisions were well on their way, and the meeting was convinced that we could mitigate, in our planning and implementation, any anticipated negative effects of global warming.
Facilities: We revisited the list of facilities suggested by the various consultations and agreed on: Computer room, other practical skills training (including art, music, sewing), a library/resource centre, washroom, kitchen/catering facilities, bar, hall, two self contained flats, village council and post office. Although the meeting was in favor of a preschool being part of the facility there were arguments put forward led by the preschool manager - for it to remain a facility separate from the community centre and aligned with the primary school instead. Notwithstanding we agreed to include it in the plans at this point
Design: The entire space on which the building itself can be constructed is 12,125 sq. feet (excluding possibly reclaimed land) and is rectangular in shape. It is intended that the building is rectangular and take up not more than half of that space. For the guidance of the architects the following was agreed: Downstairs: toilets, fire escape, post office, village council, preschool. Upstairs: reception area, toilets, hall, kitchen, computer, library/resource, workshops and two apartments. Upstairs will be larger than downstairs. Downstairs will include and open air covered facility for public meeting and other open air activities. A sketch of a visual summary of these ideas is attached.
It was agreed that access for the elderly and safety for children must be built into the plans. We also agreed that the architectural and cultural traditions and environmental features of the village must be reflected in the building's structure. For example shingles, rafters and stones must be utilized; The Bann Mové tradition must be included in some form and the river mouth and seashore need to be major features.
Landscaping is integral and very important to the project. It will utilize plants indigenous to Colihaut and be mainly fibrous. The landscaping will start from the main Road (as you approach the school from Roseau) alongside the sea shore, then turning a sharp right for approximately 50 yards along the river. A motorable bridge will be built at that point over the river to join the main road passing in front of 'Rock Boys'. The building entrance will face the main raid. Along both sides of the river bank up to the 'new' bridge will be walled and landscaped. Some of the sea will be reclaimed for recreational space outside. A sea wall and jetty alongside that sea wall, will be built.
Because of the proximity to the sea the division of planning will not allow three storey. We agreed that it would be an upstairs and downstairs building between 3 and 4 feet raised from the ground. The roof will be heap (not gable or flat) with a least 4 sides for its aesthetic value. All building materials to be non-corrosive bearing in mind the proximity of the building to the sea. The building especially the hall and any music room will be sound proofed. There will be fire exits on each floor as will be exits for water in case of flooding. Solar power will be utilized to reduce on cost and for environmental reasons. It was not desirable to have a car park at the entrance of the building although it was agreed that at least 4 spaces must be made available close to the building entrance (but not conspicuously) for dignitaries and the disabled.
Cost: Although raised at various times we did not discuss fully so as not to detract from our vision. Once the vision is articulated in words and pictures it will be costed and its viability explored in a business plan. If necessary the ideas can be modified while maintaining our fundamental vision.
Management: The thorough processes of consultation and the harnessing of the skills and time of members of the communities are to ensure communal ownership of the project. We want to ensure that as many as possible contribute to the building process and so feel that they have to guard the building from vandalism and mismanagement. The building will be in the care of the Colihaut Village Council who will be its legal guardian. The council will delegate responsibility for the management of the Community Centre to a Board that it sets up. The board members wills serve for a period of 3 years and be drawn from a cross section of the community. User fees will be charged so the building pays for itself.
We are in the process of agreeing a new site for the centre as the first option of the Bay Front was turned down by the government. Encenter has been proposed as the next option. We are looking for Prime Minister Skerrit to help us achieve this vision.
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