Marines Hall to face demolition
Porirua Little Theatre has admitted defeat and the end is nigh for the Marines Hall in Titahi Bay.
The theatre company had been in discussion with Porirua City Council about a possible $800,000 upgrade to the building, but the council has pulled the plug - saying not enough money has been publicly raised, so the hall will be demolished.
The dilapidated hall, in Whitehouse Rd, was closed in 2012 after routine maintenance brought to light severe structural problems. These included rotting walls, rusted steel, borer and leaking gutters.
Council gave the theatre company permission in 2015 to raise money for the major renovation, and promised $250,000 via the Shared Responsibility Scheme.
Initially, PLT had until August 1 that year to develop a plan and raise the money, but extensions were granted.
PLT president Sandy Brewer said fundraising and grants had brought their total to $150,000 but a positive end was not in sight and ‘‘reality has really set in’’.
‘‘There does not seem enough [Lotteries and other grant] money to go around, so we’re basically run- ning into a brick wall.’’
However, its temporary PopUp Theatre home at 4 Lydney Pl had been serving its purpose, Brewer said.
‘‘The whole saga has been going on so long that we’ve got theatre members who don’t remember the Marines Hall as our home, so that says something.
‘‘Lyndey Pl is central in Porirua, has easy access and we’re happy to continue there as long as it’s feasible.’’
Council chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said an agreement was reached to extend PLT’s lease at Lydney Pl, while the theatre company seeks a permanent home.
‘‘The council had agreed to give [the Marines Hall] to PLT and funds from the Shared Responsibility Scheme only if they secured funding,’’ she said.
‘‘To alleviate any further costs to the ratepayers, the council will now reinstate the process to demolish.’’
Evans said there was no timing on when the hall would come down, as there was a resource consent process to go through.
The hall was built in 1942 as a recreation hall for the US Marines based in Titahi Bay and PLT had sole use of it since 1976.