Arts venue back on the agenda

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 09:59 18/12/2012

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A performance space is likely to be built in Porirua - but when and where, and at what cost, remains a mystery.

The city council was presented with a list of options for a performance venue at last week's meeting, as members also faced the decision of what to do with the condemned Porirua Little Theatre building in Titahi Bay.

The theatre was closed in August after severe water damage was discovered during an inspection.

The cost to repair is estimated to be between $700,000 and $820,000, and a new building could cost more than $1 million.

Venue options presented to councillors included using an existing performance venue, such as the Plimmerton Pavilion, Aotea College's Te Manawa or Pataka; repairing or rebuilding the theatre in Titahi Bay; or converting an existing space.

Mayor Nick Leggett and some councillors admitted they were unprepared to debate the issue.

Councillor Sue Dow suggested a working party be established to resolve the matter but it was not supported. She said the council had an opportunity to find a new home for Porirua Little Theatre and other performance groups.

Mr Leggett said it was important a decision be made before the annual plan process early next year.

After much discussion, the council requested a new report that would cover options for a "medium-term" small theatre space to be identified.

Porirua Little Theatre president Sandy Brewer, who watched the meeting, said councillors appeared to be disorganised, but at least they were exploring options.

She said establishing a permanent space for performing groups in the city was an exciting prospect, but it was a pity it took the demise of their own building to achieve it.

"We want to find out sooner, rather than later, and we would love an indication of what the council prefers.

"We need to let our members know whether demolishing our old building is a real option or do we contribute to a new space?

"We're just in a holding pattern right now."

Porirua Little Theatre has found a temporary home at the old Pete's Emporium building in central Porirua.

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