Aotea per­form­ing arts cen­tre a step closer

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A per­form­ing arts cen­tre for Porirua has taken a huge leap for­ward, with the city coun­cil agree­ing to put $1 mil­lion to­wards a fa­cil­ity at Aotea Col­lege.

Porirua City Coun­cil’s Te Komiti agreed on Thurs­day to carry out a fea­si­bil­ity study – in­ves­ti­gat­ing lev­els of de­mand, benefits and time­frames – on a per­for­mance arts cen­tre, to be re­ported back be­fore June 2016.

An in­vest­ment of $1m has been agreed for the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year, de­pen­dent on com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

In public speak­ing time be­fore the meet­ing, Aotea Col­lege prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford said part­ner­ships be­tween cen­tral and lo­cal gov­ern­ment had been dif­fi­cult ter­rain to tra­verse when it came to arts spa­ces.

‘‘In this case [at the col­lege] there is an op­por­tu­nity that aligns for both the school and the com­mu­nity.

‘‘There is a mas­ter plan un­der way for the re­de­vel­op­ment of Aotea Col­lege and the arts cen­tre is a pri­or­ity for us. We can make this a com­mu­nity hub.’’

Gains­ford said hav­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion-dollar fa­cil­ity built solely by the school locked shut at night, over the week­end and in school hol­i­days was a waste when there was a need for it.

A re­de­vel­op­ment of the en­tire col­lege cost­ing tens of mil­lions is planned in com­ing years.

A re­port to the coun­cil noted there had been dis­cus­sions in the past 20 years re­gard­ing a per­form­ing arts cen­tre. It listed five pa­pers com­mis­sioned by the coun­cil since 1994.

His­tor­i­cal com­mu­nity sup­port for a per­form­ing arts cen­tre ex­isted, the re­port said, and the coun­cil had agreed in prin­ci­ple to sup­port the re­de­vel­op­ment of the col­lege’s au­di­to­rium, Te Manawa.

Coun­cil­lors said it was im­por- tant to re­ceive the busi­ness case from Aotea Col­lege be­fore con­firm­ing the $1m, but there was wide­spread back­ing for link­ing with Aotea Col­lege with the project.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said a per­form­ing arts cen­tre should hap­pen sooner rather than later. It was an op­por­tu­nity to set a new stan­dard for Porirua con­tribut­ing to­wards a school, and the arts, he said.

‘‘This is the first time some­thing like this has had some meat on the bone and the coun­cil should be part of it,’’ he said.

‘‘If we can se­cure what we need from a com­mu­nity per­spec­tive, it’s an ex­cit­ing chance.

‘‘Aotea Col­lege is close to Gear Homestead, the city cen­tre, State High­way 1 and Trans­mis­sion Gully, and there is ac­commo- da­tion nearby.

‘‘It looks like a sen­si­ble part­ner­ship for the com­mu­nity and our res­i­dents.’’

Coun­cil­lor Ken Dou­glas said the per­form­ing arts is­sue had been ‘‘a mas­sive dis­ap­point­ment’’ in the past, as pre­vi­ous op­tions were gold-plated.

His col­league, Denys Latham, said a part­ner­ship with Aotea Col­lege was a no-brainer and he urged the coun­cil to move quickly.

Coun­cil­lor John Burke said this was the best chance to see a per­form­ing arts cen­tre es­tab­lished in Porirua in his life­time.

The coun­cil’s $1m con­tri­bu­tion will be in­cluded in the draft longterm plan, which will go out for public com­ment shortly.


Com­ing down: Aotea Col­lege’s dated au­di­to­rium will be one of the first build­ings re­placed in a mas­sive makeover of the school.

Log­i­cal step: Aotea Col­lege prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford said get­ting the per­form­ing arts cen­tre built at the school made sense for Porirua.

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