Bannockburn Hall wins reprieve
Second report gives stone building the OK
After a three-year lockdown, a hall once earmarked for demolition is opening its doors for a party.
A pot luck tea at The Bannockburn Coronation Hall is to be held on Sunday and will be the first event at the hall since March 2011, when the building was red-stickered and earmarked for demolition after a council engineer’s report.
The report assessed the building as high risk in the event of an earthquake, saying in the event of a moderate earthquake or even a high wind the building was at risk of ‘‘catastrophic collapse’’.
The community received the long-awaited good news last month that its hall would not be demolished, having met new building codes to a ‘‘surprising’’ standard.
Central Otago District Council property and facilities manager Mike Kerr said a second engineer’s report had found the hall met about 80 per cent of the National Building Standards.
After a push from a faction of the community, the council commissioned a second report, the findings of which were released publicly last month.
Kerr said: ‘‘The information in the report at the time left the council with no other option but to close the hall for safety reasons.
‘‘Since then, and with advancement after the Christchurch earthquakes of assessment methods for earthquake proneness, further advice had been sought. The second engineering assessment is considerably more detailed.’’
However, the variance in assessment conclusions was ‘‘surprising’’, he said.
Although it took time to secure the services of Hadley Robinson engineers, the council and Bannockburn Community Centre Management Committee Inc (BCCMCI) felt it was important to secure the services of an engineer with significant experience in assessing stone buildings and recently advanced assessment methodology, he said.
BCCMCI chair Kerry StaintonHerbert said the community was feeling positive and wanted to do something to celebrate the hall’s reopening.
‘‘We have put out to the friends of the hall and Bannockburn residents. We decided to have a community tea— it’s just to celebrate the reopening of the hall. We are waiting with bated breath to see how many will come.’’
Stainton-Herbert said the community was surprised at the outcome— and delighted.
‘‘It could have been a $1.3 million rebuild that may never have been able to be raised. Now there are more options and we do (repairs) in stages.
The stage would need to be repaired urgently because there had already been two booking inquiries for weddings, the first being in October, she said. The hall would also be used for the Battle of Bannockburn later this month, she said.