No funding for arts centre
They came in good numbers but left disappointed.
Aotea College students, staff and supporters packed out the public gallery at Porirua City Council as mayor Mike Tana and councillors sought to ratify their decision not to grant $200,000 towards the school’s performing arts centre.
The $200,000 was, in itself, a backtrack, being less than the $1m the council agreed to in 2015.
During public speaking time, Aotea College principal Kate Gainsford, head boy Ben Sawrey, church minister Pete Henare and Aotea Residents Association chairman Rodney Strong all spoke in support of reinstating the $200,000 grant.
Gainsford said there existed a ‘‘longstanding’’ desire for the council to have a performing arts space in Porirua, and Aotea represented the best bet.
‘‘We have slowed our own [$24m rebuild] process down to accommodate the council, in good faith,’’ she said.
‘‘To completely reject all that has come before is hard to take.’’
Porirua Community Arts Council chairwoman Judy McKoy said a purposebuilt performing arts centre was badly needed in the city.
‘‘There have been six feasibility studies since 1994, so this council wants something, but keeps coming up with reasons not to build it.’’
But councillors reiterated previous arguments about financial pressures the council was facing, and refused to reinstate the funding.
Councillor Dale Williams said a performing arts centre at Aotea, supported by the council, ‘‘didn’t tick enough boxes for me’’.
As a compromise, an amendment put forward by councillor ‘Ana Coffey to again investigate the feasibility of a performing arts centre in the Porirua CBD passed.
But it will not cost $100,000 as originally planned.
The council resolved to include options for the centre in the consultations for the 2018-28 Long-Term Plan and use existing budgets and resources to look into it.
College students and teachers packed the public gallery at the Porirua City Council meeting.