Civic project soon to become a reality

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 13:30 21/11/2012

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Work on the new ASB Civic Theatre in Blenheim should begin in a matter of weeks, theatre trust chairman Kevin Moseley says.

Mr Moseley said he was confident contractor Fulton Hogan would start clearing the building site "in the next couple of weeks".

Marlborough building company Robinson Construction would start work soon after and he expected work on the foundation piles to start in February, he said.

The company will use special screw piles, rather than hammering the piles in, because of concerns that vibrations could damage land around the Clubs of Marlborough and possibly cause liquefaction, Mr Moseley said.

The technique was similar to one used overseas. Mr Moseley said he was impressed with what he had seen of new building techniques in Berlin and New York, especially how much quieter the construction work was.

"They [Robinson Construction] are trying to do it as user- friendly as possible. Construction's so different to what it was. Where you used to hear banging and thumping, now you'd hardly notice these buildings were going up."

The start of construction would also help raise funds for the theatre, with potential backers holding off until the work started.

Mr Moseley also confirmed the trust is unable to get more funding from the Government until it had spent some of the $300,000 grant it received from the Lotteries Commission three years ago for furnishings.

"We have been speaking to the Government, but we can't expect more money until the project is under way and we at least show that we're going to pick up that [Lotteries Commission] funding."

While other furnishings may be bought soon, Mr Moseley said the trust was in no hurry to buy any seating for the theatre.

Getting the right seats was important and the price of theatre seats was falling internationally, so the trust was taking it's time to make the right decision.

In the meantime, staff from project management company Shand Shelton in Wellington were testing seat designs to find the best option.

"They have six or 10 different chairs, which they have had in their offices for about 12 months. They have actually been jumping on the back of them to see whether they will snap.

"They've been banging them, sitting on them to see what is the most comfortable and ringing round venues to ask ‘How are they standing up'."

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