Coun­cil will re­pair hall struc­ture, noth­ing else

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Denise Piper

The beloved O¯ ruru Hall, also known as Swamp Palace, is to be struc­turally re­paired and handed over to the com­mu­nity.

Mayor John Carter said the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil was do­ing what the com­mu­nity had asked.

But the O¯ ruru and In­land Val­ley’s As­so­ci­a­tion said it would not ac­cept a sub-stan­dard build­ing and there were still a few steps to go through.

O¯ ruru Hall had been in poor re­pair for a num­ber of years and was closed to users in July with health and safety con­cerns.

An en­gi­neer’s re­port from 2014 de­scribed the struc­ture as be­ing held to­gether by the roof and “a lot of nails hold­ing hands,” with struc­tural el­e­ments re­moved to al­low good view­ing of the cin­ema screen.

The re­port also said the build­ing had rot­ten cladding and wall struc­tures, and the toi­lets were “rather shabby”.

The es­ti­mated cost to do a full re­pair of the struc­ture and fab­ric of the build­ing, in­clud­ing re­plac­ing toi­lets, was $540,000.

Yet at the coun­cil In­fra­struc­ture Net­work Com­mit­tee meet­ing on 28 Novem­ber, the coun­cil agreed to spend $196,724 plus GST on the struc­tural work ¯only. The hall would then be di­vested to Oruru and In­land Val­ley’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

As­so­ci­a­tion deputy chair Kath Adams said the com­mit­tee was await­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion from the coun­cil about cost­ings and there were still is­sues to work through.

But she was feel­ing pos­i­tive about the progress.

Ms Adams said the coun­cil would have to keep its prom­ise of keep­ing the com­mu­nity in­formed with a time­line of works.

“We in­sisted on that. For too long, too many years have gone by when noth­ing’s hap­pened or they haven’t done what they said they’d do,” she said.

Mr Carter said the coun­cil had com­mit­ted to mak­ing the build­ing struc­turally sound.

But the com­mu­nity would have to do other work, such as re­place weath­er­boards and re­pair the toi­lets, he said.

The as­so­ci­a­tion would be able to ap­ply for grants for the work and could use vol­un­tary labour, mak­ing the work cheaper than if the coun­cil were to do it, Mr Carter said.

“We’ve made a com­mit­ment to make it sound and us­able,” he said.

“We’re do­ing our ab­so­lute best. We will ful­fil their wishes on the ba­sis that they take it from there,” Mr Carter said.

“This is the coun­cil sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity, hear­ing the com­mu­nity’s wishes and giv­ing them the back­ing they need,” he said.

Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil has com­mit­ted to mak­ing O¯ ruru Hall struc­turally sound.

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