Coun­cil de­clines its own ap­pli­ca­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Porirua Lit­tle Theatre can­not be de­mol­ished, Porirua City Coun­cil has been told by its own staff two months af­ter the coun­cil ap­plied to pull down the Ti­tahi Bay theatre.

Last week the coun­cil halted its re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion af­ter ad­vice from its own reg­u­la­tory team that the con­sent would un­doubt­edly fail ow­ing to the build­ing’s her­itage val­ues.

Ar­chi­tect and con­ser­va­tor Ian Bow­man ad­vised coun­cil staff that de­mo­li­tion was likely to be de­clined by engi­neers Cardno.

Early this year the coun­cil got ad­vice from con­ser­va­tion ar­chi­tects R&D; de­mo­li­tion was not R&D’s pre­ferred out­come but was an op­tion for the coun­cil.

The dou­ble ad­vice was be­cause of the coun­cil’s dual role as own­ers of the theatre and a body that con­sid­ers con­sents, coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing man­ager, Bar­bara Ber­cic said.

As own­ers, the coun­cil ap­plied to de­mol­ish but its con­sents arm sought sep­a­rate ad­vice, she said.

Ms Ber­cic could not con­firm how much the coun­cil had al­ready paid Cardno to con­sider its re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion. No more costs were be­ing ac­crued now it had been halted, she said.

A new set of cost­ings was now be­ing drawn up to re­pair the White­house Rd theatre to a min­i­mal level, Ms Ber­cic said.

In April, engi­neers ad­vised the coun­cil it would cost be­tween $700,000 and $820,000 to re­build the World War II-era theatre.

That is too ex­pen­sive for the coun­cil, which will now look for a way to lift the un­safe and un­san­i­tary no­tice from the build­ing with­out bring­ing it to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, Ms Ber­cic said.

A new set of fig­ures should be avail­able by the end of July.

Ms Ber­cic was un­sure whether plays could be held in the theatre af­ter its min­i­mal re­pair.

The news was cause for cel­e­bra­tion by the troupe, Porirua Lit­tle Theatre pres­i­dent Sandy Brewer said.

The theatre was com­mit­ted to shar­ing the costs of any re­pair and could prob­a­bly ac­cess grants money that the coun­cil could not, Ms Brewer said.

‘‘We want to con­trib­ute be­cause ob­vi­ously we have a vested in­ter­est in get­ting back there. The build­ing is get­ting more and more dam­aged as it stays there [sit­ting empty].’’

It would be pos­si­ble to re­pair the build­ing for less than $700,000, Ms Brewer said.

Free labour could be pro­vided by troupe mem­bers and the com­mu­nity, and ma­te­ri­als could be do­nated, she said.

‘‘ There are prob­a­bly cheaper ways to achieve a re­sult.’’

Still stand­ing: The Porirua Lit­tle Theatre in Ti­tahi Bay.

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