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