No fund­ing for arts cen­tre

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

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.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO/FAIR­FAX NZ

Col­lege stu­dents and teach­ers packed the public gallery at the Porirua City Coun­cil meet­ing.

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