Luggate shows cannot go on
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.
Alexandra Musical Society members Barry Gibbons, Hendrik Delport, Frans Theewis and Ron Cunningham.