Sound­shell demise ‘a kick in the guts’

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

‘‘I'm in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed’’

Pro­hib­i­tive costs have led to the col­lapse of the Aotea La­goon sound­shell project.

First mooted in 2014 and driven by Porirua Ro­tary, ini­tial costs were es­ti­mated at about $200,000, of which $115,000 was to be cov­ered by a grant from Mana Com­mu­nity Grants.

The cov­ered sound stage, on Lawn No 1, near the mid­dle en­try to the la­goon, was to be for mu­si­cal acts to per­form on dur­ing the summer con­cert se­ries, along with school, the­atre and com­mu­nity groups, and even wed­dings.

‘‘We re­ally did have vi­sions of it be­ing some­thing that would add to Porirua,’’ project co-or­di­na­tor and Porirua Ro­tary mem­ber Don Casagranda said.

Although the coun­cil did agree in De­cem­ber 2015 to pro­vide fund­ing of $100,000 to­wards the sound­shell, two el­e­ments have blown the bud­get out to $411,000 - the orig­i­nal, pre­ferred, roof de­sign com­ing in at $300,000, and re­source con­sent fees of $60,000.

The project was likely to be pub­licly no­ti­fied, hence the con­sent fees.

There was also to be higher- than-es­ti­mated costs in run­ning power to the sound stage.

Casagranda said Porirua Ro­tary would have been ex­posed to too much risk for a small or­gan­i­sa­tion, so the de­ci­sion was made to with­draw.

He had passed plans, al­ready pre­pared de­signs and en­gi­neer­ing work to Porirua City Coun­cil in the hope it ‘‘or a very gen­er­ous bene­fac­tor’’ might run with it one day.

‘‘It’s a kick in the guts, I’m in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘I’ve spent more than three years get­ting this to a point but we have to back out.

‘‘We weren’t helped by hav­ing two ob­jec­tors to the project, which would have led to other hur­dles down the track.

‘‘Most of the peo­ple we talked to about the sound stage were re­ally sup­port­ive.’’

Coun­cil chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Roy Baker said the $100,000 put aside for the sound­shell could be dis­cussed dur­ing up­com­ing An­nual Plan de­lib­er­a­tions.

‘‘Coun­cil can de­ter­mine as part of this process to make fund­ing pro­vi­sion for a sim­i­lar project if some­thing is iden­ti­fied,’’ he said.

Although Casagranda re­ceived Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion and coun­cil fund­ing, he was knocked back by Hutt Mana Char­i­ta­ble Trust and Ro­tary at the dis­trict and ‘‘global grants’’ level, while other nearby Ro­tary groups ‘‘had com­mit­ments of their own’’, he said.

PHOTO: ME­GAN HUNT

It was en­vis­aged the sound­shell in Porirua would look some­thing like this, in Napier. Don Casagranda

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