Riverton's soundshell trust may disband

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014

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The future of the Riverton soundshell is uncertain as the trust that owns it looks to dissolve.

Southland District Council property manager Kevin McNaught said the Taramea Bay Soundshell Trust owned the soundshell buildings, but leased the land from the council.

The lease on the land had expired in August 2012, but the trust had not notified the council of its intentions until January 25 this year, he said.

"The lease expired 1 August, 2012, it wasn't until 25 January 2014 they notified us they weren't going to renew it.

We had been trying to get an answer out of them in that intervening period," he said.

He had no idea what would happen to the buildings, because the council was waiting for the trust to make a decision about what they wanted to do with them.

"We're sitting in limbo," he said.

Venture Southland community development planner Juanita Thornton said the trust had been struggling for members.

"They are looking to wind the trust up," she said.

She had been working with the trust to prepare a list of requirements for the process of disbanding, including the handling of any assets.

It was unknown whether any repairs to the soundshell were needed, or how much ongoing maintenance costs would be, Ms Thornton said.

The soundshell has been used for concerts and community events for decades, most notably big New Year's Eve parties, when freedom camping is allowed overnight, as well as Waitangi Day concerts.

The soundshell stage has a shell-shaped back and is one of only two in the South Island, with the other at Caroline Bay, in Timaru.

Last year, Riverton woman Cazna Gilder put out the call for volunteers to join the trust.

The soundshell required $100,000 in repairs and maintenance and the situation was serious, Ms Gilder said at the time.

"It's a very desperate thing - if no-one looks after the soundshell, it will go to rack and ruin."

hannah.mcleod@stl.co.nz

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