Alexandra’s amphitheatre plan
Sixty years ago the Alexandra Blossom Festival was formed to help build the town a swimming pool. Now it has its sights set on an amphitheatre.
Central Otago District Council mayor Tim Cadogan and festival committee chairwoman Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay announced proposed plans to develop the site of the old Alexandra swimming pool on Thompson Street into an amphitheatre.
Cadogan said he got the idea of developing the reserve land into an amphitheatre after seeing the Whakatane Brass Band perform in an amphitheatre during the Trustpower awards.
‘‘There is a raised stage and tiered seating. One of the problems with the tiered bank (in Alexandra) which provides a natural amphitheatre is that it is sloping. For older people, slopes aren’t good to sit on, you can’t get wheelchair access to them - it makes it pretty darn tough.’’
The land was used during Blossom Festival for the ‘‘Little Big Day Out’’ concert, and organiser Ben Whitaker had mentioned power and a stage would make the area more user friendly for the event and the community, Cadogan said.
The committee decided to ‘‘bring itself back to its roots’’ and build, as well as fund, an amphi- theatre with a raised stage and tiered grass terracing. Power had already been installed.
‘‘We are coming home. We went through some tough financial times for a while. We are now well back in the black and standing on own two feet. There is no point having money sitting in the bank.
‘‘It is really to facilitate it as a useable public space. You come down here and it is hardly ever used and it is so beautiful and right in the middle of town. I think once it is there the community will create uses for it.’’
The memorial trees planted on the reserve for stillborn and ‘‘lost’’ babies would not be touched, Cadogan said.
Stirling-Lindsay said the committee was ‘‘on board straight away’’.
‘‘There needs to be a reason the Blossom Festival does what it does, other than provide an amazing weekend where people come to our town...What is the longevity of what we are doing and what can we be putting back into the community?’’
The committee would take the proposal to the Vincent Community Board for approval at its August meeting.