Soundshell demise ‘a kick in the guts’
‘‘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.
It was envisaged the soundshell in Porirua would look something like this, in Napier. Don Casagranda