Re­gional the­atre clears hur­dle

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - AARON LEAMAN

There was a bit of nig­gle, voices raised, but in the end, a last­minute bid to scut­tle the pro­posed Waikato Re­gional The­atre ended in a whim­per.

Coun­cil­lors be­gan day two of de­lib­er­a­tions on the Hamil­ton City Coun­cil’s draft long-term plan with a series of lengthy de­bates on pro­posed com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Key among them was a vote on whether to con­trib­ute up to $25 mil­lion of ratepayer money to­wards a new re­gional the­atre.

It passed, but not be­fore Coun­cil­lor Garry Mal­lett, sup­ported by Cr James Cas­son, ar­gued for the pro­posal to be ditched.

Al­though the the­atre pro­posal was a bold idea, it was un­af­ford­able given the state of the coun­cil’s fi­nances, Mal­lett said.

Cr Paula South­gate op­posed Mal­lett’s move, but sought as­sur­ances from staff over whether up­grad­ing the dis­used Founders The­atre was cost pro­hib­i­tive.

Se­nior staffer Sean Murray said he couldn’t be con­fi­dent that Founders The­atre could be fixed for $30m. Mal­lett’s mo­tion was voted down 10 to 3, with only Cr Leo Tooman sid­ing with Mal­lett and Cas­son.

Hamil­ton City Coun­cil­lors con­tin­ued their de­lib­er­a­tions on the draft longterm plan on Fri­day

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