Soundshell proposed for lagoon
Stage ready next year?
Every January the rose gardens in Aotea Lagoon provide the setting for a variety of musical acts to entertain Porirua families.
However, musicians taking to the stage for the summer concert series, put on by the Porirua City Council, run the risk of being rained off.
They perform on a temporary, open structure, with no protection from the elements.
The Rotary Club of Porirua Sundown wants to ensure the event never has to be cancelled due to weather, and wants to build a permanent sound stage, where bands and performers can be protected from the wind and rain.
The club’s key goal is to design, fund and construct a sound stage, to be completed by 2015 – also the 50th anniversary of Porirua City.
Don Casagranda, business plan and project co-ordinator of the rotary working group, said although Porirua Rotary was only a small club, members had been very supportive of the project.
‘‘We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be good if the city could have a permanent facility that could be used all year round?’’’ he said.
‘‘It would really add to the community . . . we don’t have anything like it.’’
He said the group researched different options and locations with the council before it decided on the lagoon. It then developed a detailed business case which it presented to the council.
The Rotary group opened the Rose Gardens in the lagoon in 1980 – in the shape of a Rotary wheel – so it’s fitting it has chosen the spot for the stage.
The group envisages the soundshell as not being used only for the summer series, but potentially by schools, wedding parties, community and theatre groups.
Dave Smith is responsible for structural design and costing within the Rotary working group.
He said Rotary didn’t want a stage similar to the one at Wellington Botanic Gardens, but was looking at making a smaller version of a sound stage like the one in Upper Hutt.
‘‘This would be a great thing for Porirua . . . we seem to be the country cousins of the Hutt and Wellington, so something like this would be a positive step forward,’’ he said.
Casagranda said he believed the stage would not only support community performances and events, but would raise the profile of Porirua City as a venue.
The main drive for the group, now it has established their business case, is sponsorship and fundraising. It estimates about $200,000 will be needed to complete the project.
Porirua City councillor Bronwyn Kropp said having a permanent stage at the lagoon would be an asset to the city.
‘‘There’s a strong performance element in Porirua, and the lagoon is already a musical venue, so [the soundshell] would be a positive addition,’’ she said.
Although Rotary will fund the building costs, the council will prepare the site, and be responsible for power and maintenance.
Preparing the stage: Don Casagranda stands, business plan in hand, in the spot in Aotea Lagoon where he and other Porirua Rotary members want to build a sound stage.