No money for arts cen­tre

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

COUN­CIL BACK­TRACKS ON $1 MIL­LION FUND­ING PROM­ISE FOR AOTEA COL­LEGE

Aotea Col­lege could have a scaled­down per­form­ing arts cen­tre after Porirua City Coun­cil re­neged on its por­tion of the fund­ing on Thurs­day.

In the first sub­stan­tial de­ci­sion of Mike Tana’s may­oralty, he and six coun­cil­lors - Anita Baker and first-ter­m­ers Ross Leggett, Dale Wil­liams, Bev­er­ley Wakem, Kylie Wi­hapi and Mike Duncan - voted against grant­ing Aotea Col­lege $200,000 to­wards its planned cen­tre.

The rec­om­mended $200,000 was a back­track in it­self, be­ing sub­stan­tially less than the $1 mil­lion Porirua City Coun­cil agreed to in 2015.

Aotea Col­lege first ap­proached the coun­cil about a part­ner­ship for a per­form­ing arts cen­tre in 2012 and a formal agree­ment was made in 2015.

Aotea prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford, who looked vis­i­bly frus­trated dur­ing coun­cil­lors’ dis­cus­sion at the City De­liv­ery com­mit­tee meet­ing, said after­wards she was ‘‘nat­u­rally dis­ap­pointed’’ with the out­come.

‘‘We have worked for a long time to get to this point, many meet­ings with the coun­cil,’’ she said. ‘‘I un­der­stand that it’s democ­racy and one mil­lion dol­lars is no small amount, but I am frus­trated.’’

She said the hope was to still build a 500-seat fa­cil­ity, thought to cost about $3.5m, but a de­ci­sion on the size and scale of the cen­tre would now need to be made.

‘‘We’ve lis­tened to the com­mu­nity and that’s what’s de­sired - we still want this to be some­thing the pub­lic can use.’’

Dur­ing the meet­ing, coun­cil­lors against the $200,000 in­jec­tion were apolo­getic, but firm.

Com­mit­tee chair­woman Anita Baker said she was strug­gling with the per­cep­tion ‘‘coun­cil had led Aotea Col­lege up the gar­den path’’, but other core in­vest­ments, such as earth­quake and flood­ing costs, had to come first.

Mayor Mike Tana said the coun­cil had big­ger nuts to crack. ‘‘When we do any­thing, it must be for the good of the city, and in the long term. There are other things that need our at­ten­tion.’’

Coun­cil­lor Dale Wil­liams said he sup­ported a per­form­ing arts cen­tre, but not now. ‘‘We [the coun­cil] need to be in bet­ter shape. Tough de­ci­sions are go­ing to hap­pen in or­der to be fis­cally re­spon­si­ble.’’

Coun­cil­lor Izzy Ford said the $200,000 felt to­kenis­tic and she wanted the coun­cil ‘‘all in’’ on the project.

She, John Burke, ‘Ana Cof­fey and Faafoi Seiuli voted against canning the fund­ing.

PHOTO: AOTEA COL­LEGE

A pre­lim­i­nary artists’ im­pres­sion the per­form­ing arts cen­tre at Aotea Col­lege, which will cost about $3.5 mil­lion to build.

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