Sound­shell pro­posed for la­goon

Stage ready next year?

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SOPHIE LEGGETT

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.

Photo: SOPHIE LEGGETT

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.

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