Lug­gate shows can­not go on

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MAR­JORIE COOK

The Lug­gate Memo­rial Hall, near Wanaka, is of­fi­cially too dan­ger­ous for songs, and last week­end’s singing work­shop was held at the Hawea Flat Hall

The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil has com­pletely fenced the Lug­gate hall, ward­ing against the pos­si­bil­ity an earth­quake re­duces it and ev­ery­thing within to rub­ble, and the Civil De­fence gather­ing point has been moved to the Lug­gate fire sta­tion.

That’s not to say peo­ple have not al­ready been shaken, rat­tled or rolled dur­ing events at the 63-year-old hall, pro­nounced by the Ju­bi­la­tion Choir in 2007 to have fan­tas­tic acous­tics.

But in re­cent years, earth­quakes have bat­tered coun­try halls and sparked build­ing in­spec­tions up and down the South Is­land.

In April, even as en­gi­neers sig­nalled the 63-year-old build­ing’s im­pend­ing doom, Aus­tralian per­form­ers Lin­sey Pol­lak and Lizzie O’Keefe bravely trod the boards to give four ren­di­tions of their pre­sciently named show, Dan­ger­ous Song.

Fes­ti­val of Colour di­rec­tor Philip Tre­me­wan said the fes­ti­val would be ‘‘very, very sad’’ to see Lug­gate hall de­mol­ished and it was hoped the walls could be strength­ened.

‘‘It’s been one of our favourite fes­ti­val venues – in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar with per­form­ers and au­di­ences alike. It has the best acous­tics of any venue in the re­gion,’’ he said.

But a final earth­quake re­port de­liv­ered in Au­gust has set­tled the mat­ter. The dis­trict coun­cil is adamant; legally, the shows can­not go on.

No more Lug­gate fu­ner­als. The last was in hon­our of com­mu­nity stal­wart John ‘‘Tinny’’ Iron­side about two months ago.

And no more danc­ing. Af­ter the Lug­gate Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion fin­ished its an­nual mid­win­ter din­ner on Au­gust 19, the doors to the rimu-floored, mud-brick hall were locked.

As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Graeme Perkins said the com­mit­tee felt if the build­ing needed more than sim­ple re­in­forc­ing, it would be bet­ter to start afresh.

A Lug­gate del­e­ga­tion would present their case for a new hall at a coun­cil public fo­rum on Septem­ber 28 and would also meet with coun­cil staff to dis­cuss get­ting a hall bud­get into the 10-year plan. Res­i­dents’ feed­back is also be­ing sought.

SUP­PLIED

Alexan­dra Mu­si­cal So­ci­ety mem­bers Barry Gib­bons, Hen­drik Del­port, Frans Theewis and Ron Cun­ning­ham.

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