Council will repair hall structure, nothing else
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.