Marines Hall plan out soon

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Ti­tahi Bay’s Marines Hall may soon get an ex­ten­sive up­grade.

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