The Dominion Post
Decision looms on unused hall
The future of an historic Porirua hall, which has cost $193,114 to maintain for the five years it has sat empty, could now be decided in October.
Built in 1942 as a recreation hall for United States Marines camped in Titahi Bay, the building was closed in 2012 after severe structural problems, including rotting walls and rusted steel, were discovered.
Since then, the council has forked out for surveyors, engineers, builders and a survey to get the public’s view on whether it should demolish the building.
Porirua City Council chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said the council was now waiting for information from a community working group set up to try and save the hall. It was aiming to present options for consideration at a meeting on October 7.
The council had no funds set aside for demolition costs and no decision had been made on whether it would commit any money towards a restoration project.
Last month, the working group issued a press release detailing their plans but would not give further details.
In that release, working group chairwoman Wendy Leary said a ‘‘threestage fundraising programme’’ had been presented to Porirua City Council.
‘‘Stage one, engaging a structural engineer to progress existing documentation to a stage where it meets building consent criteria, will cost about $3000.
In 2013, the council issued a notified resource consent to demolish the building.
‘‘Stage two will cost about $273,000 to return the building shell to a weathertight and compliant state. About $200,000 will be from major sponsors and Porirua City Council, $45,000 in volunteer labour and $28,000 in public and private donations.
‘‘Stage three, which is interior work, will be finalised once the requirements of the anchor tenant are known.’’
The working group would apply to the Porirua Community Trust for $150,000, Leary said.
The hall was used by the marines for less than a year and had remained a community facility since.
In 2013, the council issued a notified resource consent to demolish the building, citing repair costs of about $800,000 or replacement costs of $1 million.
In 2015, the council gave the Porirua Little Theatre, which had sole use of the hall since 1976, permission to raise money for an upgrade. However, te theatre company couldn’t secure the funds needed.