Alexan­dra’s am­phithe­atre plan

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

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.

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