Door cut in me­mo­rial of­fends

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TOHILL

The Clutha Dis­trict Coun­cil has ex­pressed it’s ‘‘ex­treme dis­ap­point­ment’’ at an en­trance that has been cut into a war me­mo­rial wall in Bal­clutha.

South Otago His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety is in the process of con­vert­ing a former coun­cil meet­ing cham­ber in the Bal­clutha War Me­mo­rial Hall, which backs onto a war me­mo­rial wall, into a dis­play area.

How­ever, on Tues­day last week, Clutha Dis­trict mayor Bryan Cado­gan and the coun­cil put a stop to work on the wall when it was dis­cov­ered that a door­way had been cut into the side of the me­mo­rial, which is vis­i­ble from the Bal­clutha i-Site en­trance.

A spe­cial meet­ing was called, and at the di­rec­tion of coun­cil­lors, a let­ter had been sent to South Otago His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety chair­man Kevin Bar­ron, ex­press­ing the coun­cil’s ex­treme dis­ap­point­ment at the ac­tion.

Be­fore any me­mo­rial was al­tered, the coun­cil would have ex­pected con­sul­ta­tion and per­mis­sion from Clutha Dis­trict RSA, and the wider pub­lic, along with a con­ser­va­tor’s re­port, Cado­gan said.

Bar­ron said the hold-up was dis­ap­point­ing; firstly be­cause the team was un­able to com­plete the con­struc­tion, which meant the ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing would have to be de­layed by four weeks.

Se­condly, be­cause the coun­cil and coun­cil­lors had been in­formed ‘‘from day one’’ of the works that were to be car­ried out, he said.

The coun­cil claims no floor plan or specifics on de­sign ac­com­pa­nied the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety’s re­port.

‘‘It’s the cut­ting of a hole and al­ter­ations to the me­mo­rial wall that came as a com­plete sur­prise to us,’’ Cado­gan said.

A ‘‘paper trail’’ was avail­able from when the project was first pro­posed, Bar­ron said.

An ex­emp­tion to a build­ing con­sent was granted by staff.

How­ever, while he was con­fi­dent the work met build­ing stan­dards, the ex­emp­tion did not cover ‘‘re­quire­ments around sen- sitiv­ity re­gard­ing memo­ri­als’’, Cado­gan said.

The coun­cil con­firmed it had al­lowed work to con­tinue on the en­trance­way to make it a safe en­try point for the new ex­hi­bi­tion, but had in­formed the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety that the wall must be re-in­stated in ei­ther the same lo­ca­tion or else­where in the hall. Bar­ron said he would re­spond to the coun­cil’s let­ter.

MARY-JO TOHILL/STUFF

A door cut into the me­mo­rial at the Bal­clutha War Me­mo­rial Hall that has up­set the coun­cil.

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