Gaiety for repair despite no quake payout

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 23/12/2013
Gaiety Theatre
Dean Kozanic

FORMER GLORY: Gaiety Theatre pictured in 2009, before the quakes struck.

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The Christchurch City Council will push ahead with repairs to Akaroa's historic Gaiety Theatre even though it has to yet reach a settlement with its insurer.

At their last meeting of the year, councillors approved in principle the repairs to the 134-year-old Italianate theatre, subject to a full report coming to the council at the end of January.

The Gaiety has been closed since the council's detailed engineering evaluation in 2011 revealed the building's seismic capacity was only 24 per cent of new building standard, meaning it was considered earthquake-prone.

In recent months members of the community have become increasingly concerned about its condition, with some alleging invasive engineering investigations have caused more damage than the quakes.

Councillor Yani Johanson, who chairs the council's community committee, said it was important the council act quickly

"We could do some temporary fixes but the community in fact just want us to get on with permanent repair," Johanson said.

"It's a better use of funding to focus on the permanent rather than the temporary."

Banks Peninsula councillor Andrew Turner said by repairing the Gaiety the council would be sending the local community a signal that it took their concerns seriously and valued the facility.

"We have an opportunity to get something moving with the Gaiety despite any difficulties there might be around insurance," Turner said.

The Gaiety had been sorely missed by the community and it was important to get it operating as soon as possible.

The Gaiety was insured for $628,000 but it is not yet clear how much the repairs will cost, nor how much the council's insurer will pay out.

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- The Press

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