Will Marines Hall get an upgrade?
The decision on whether to upgrade the rotting and rusting Titahi Bay Marines Hall will be made soon, Porirua Little Theatre says.
The dilapidated council venue, used primarily by Porirua Little Theatre, was closed in 2012 after routine maintenance discovered severe structural problems. This included rotting walls and rusted steel, borer and leaking gutters.
Council gave the theatre company permission in 2015 to raise money for a major upgrade, thought to cost about $800,000. Initially the company had until August 1 that year to develop a plan and raise the money, but extensions were granted.
By October last year, it had raised just $35,500, well short of the total it needed.
The council has promised $250,000 via the Shared Responsibility Scheme.
Porirua Little Theatre president Sandy Brewer said this week that she hoped to be able to make an announcement on the upgrade’s future ’’in the next few weeks’’.
She said raising the capital needed had been difficult.
‘‘It’s not been as successful as we would have wanted it to be, but I’m feeling good about things,’’ she said. ‘‘I will be able to say more soon.’’
There had been positive talks with council officers lately but there were still a few issues around ‘‘what, where and how’’ that needed to be confirmed.
Porirua Little Theatre has been housed in the old Pete’s Emporium building in Lydney Pl since the closure of the Marines Hall.
There had been more than one argument - around the council table and on social media - about the hall’s past, present and future place in Titahi Bay.
Some say it is a link to the US Marines’ presence in the suburb - they built it in 1942 as a recreation hall - and needs to be preserved on historical grounds, while others say it is a relic and should be torn down.
In December 2014, councillor Bronwyn Kropp said the hall was built from shipping crates, was only meant to be used for one year by the Marines, held no strategic value to the council and had one tenant.
Kapi-Mana News revealed at the time that the maintenance saga had cost ratepayers $165,000 in roof wrap and fencing, consultants, surveying and engineers’ fees, producing a discussion document and a research survey.