Marines Hall plan out soon
The business plan for the upgrade of the Marines Hall is coming together, the prospective new owners say.
It is almost three years since the Titahi Bay hall was closed, and next month Porirua Little Theatre will present its plan to extensively renovate the dilapidated building.
Porirua Little Theatre was given the green light by Porirua City Council in April to take the hall ownership.
Almost $ 250,000 has been promised by the council – some of it via the Shared Responsibility Scheme – towards the upgrade, which could cost up to $800,000.
Theatre president Sandy Brewer said some of the organisation’s members, including architects, builders and surveyors were giving their time so a comprehensive business plan could be presented to the council in mid-July.
‘‘It’s important that as part of our plans we acknowledge the heritage side of the hall,’’ she said.
A 2013 report from architect Ian Bowman recorded rotting walls and rusting steel, borer and leaking gutters.
Despite that, the heritage value as one of the few remaining buildings that represented the US Marines’ presence in New Zealand in the 1940s was significant, Bowman said.
Brewer said re-using fabric from the building to recognise its historic values was in line with what heritage experts were suggesting and would form part of the business plan.
Timber, doorways and counters could be used in a way that paid tribute to the colourful history of the structure, she said.
Two changes being considered are having the entry to the hall facing the shops and gutting the interior.
A $100,000 fix in six months was never going to be possible, Brewer said, so all avenues of fundraising were being considered.
‘‘The cost will be high. But we have a lot of people among our membership and in this community who are willing to help, and that will bring costs down.’’
The plan would be robust, Brewer said, and would involve a lot of collaboration with the council.
‘‘We’re making sure the legwork is done before that August 1 deadline, so if the council needs to come back to us, we have time.’’
Titahi Bay’s Marines Hall may soon get an extensive upgrade.