An­other $1m needed for arts cen­tre

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - LAREE TAULA

Aotea Col­lege will go ahead with a new per­form­ing arts cen­tre but needs to find $1mil­lion to do it.

The short­fall is a re­sult of the Porirua City Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion ear­lier this year not to con­trib­ute any fund­ing, reneg­ing on an agree­ment it made in 2015 to con­trib­ute $1m af­ter plans for the $350m 500-seat fa­cil­ity changed.

Aotea Col­lege board chair­woman Caro­line Mareko said it was a pity the board could not part­ner with the coun­cil.

‘‘We will have to part­ner up with pri­vate in­stead.’’

A smaller 350-seat op­tion would cost about $2.7 mil­lion, but was not be­ing con­sid­ered by the school board.

‘‘The per­form­ing arts cen­tre is not just for Aotea Col­lege use, it’s for the com­mu­nity. Any­thing less than 500 seats is too small,’’ Mareko said.

‘‘The sur­round­ing pri­mary schools are get­ting big­ger and big­ger and it’s hard for them to find an af­ford­able venue.

‘‘A lot of them use Hosanna Porirua Church but have to do three con­certs be­cause it’s too small.

‘‘Hir­ing out the Te Rau­paraha Arena fa­cil­ity is too ex­pen­sive and the acous­tics aren’t good.

‘‘This one would be low cost. The whole idea is not about mak­ing money, but bring­ing the com- mu­nity to­gether. We have a great com­mu­nity that will help. We are talk­ing to key peo­ple who might con­sider mak­ing an in­vest­ment. We will find a way.’’

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, which pre­vi­ously ap­proved $24m to fund a rebuild of the decile 5 school, is sup­port­ing it to go ahead with build­ing while it finds the other $1m.

The ad­di­tional money needs to be raised be­fore the build­ing is com­plete - ex­pected to be around Septem­ber next year.

Mayor Mike Tana said the coun­cil couldn’t jus­tify fund­ing the per­form­ing arts cen­tre as a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity be­cause it was clearly part of the school.

‘‘The orig­i­nal plans had the fa­cil­ity sep­a­rate to the school. The coun­cil has to be very care­ful what it agrees to spend ratepay­ers’ money on.

‘‘We would much pre­fer to have a per­form­ing arts cen­tre right in the heart of Porirua.’’

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the per­form­ing arts cen­tre planned for Aotea Col­lege.

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