Councillors back larger town hall

BY PETER HIDE
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013
Town hall
Rangiora Town Hall.

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The North Canterbury Academy of Music emerged the victors in the battle for the proposed extension to the Rangiora Town Hall on Wednesday.

The Waimakariri District Council voted in favour of spending the whole $10.7 million on the original plan, subject to the views expressed by the public to the Annual Plan, after hearing the views of the North Canterbury Performing Arts Council Trust.

Julia Holcroft, a patron of the trust, told the district council about 'inaccuracies' in the recommendations put forward by  manager of community and recreation Craig Sargison, on behalf of the community facilities working party.

The working party had advised reducing the cost of the $10.7 million proposal by dropping space to be used by the Academy for teaching.

Ms Holcroft said the term 'teaching/studio rooms' for the five rooms in the 105 square metre block really should be been referred to as 'break-out rooms'.

''Crucially, it needs to be understood that this extension concept was always considered by the Trust as an integral part of the whole that is, it was never intended to be the the sole use or dedicated use of the North Canterbury Academy of Music exclusively.''

Ms Holcroft questioned the savings of $1.4 million in the revised plan.

The working party had said the only feasible way to achieve a reduction of this magnitude was to reduce the total floor area of the proposed extension.The cost of the original plan, including the break-out spaces, came to $10.7 million and the scaled-back version, $9.3 million.

The Rangiora Town Hall has been closed since December 2011 because of earthquake damage and the council agreed to fast track the often-discussed extensions in its long term plan, with provision for the work to start in 2012-13.

Key elements of the proposed extensions are an extra 150 seat theatre, enlarged ticket facilities, enlarged foyer space, cinema space, upgraded facilities for performers using the main auditorium and the150 seat theatre, and break-out rooms.

The scaled-back plan would have eliminated these rooms but Ms Holcroft said the savings gained would only be $580,000, not the $1.4million estimated by the working party.

Councillors reacted strongly to the comments of the North Canterbury Performing Arts Council Trust.
''Rangiora has had a town hall since 1926 and it certainly needs a town hall today,'' said Mayor David Ayers.
Craig Sargison noted there was only a couple of weeks difference between the plans.

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The council plans to put the Rangiora town hall extensions out to tender about September of this year, for the work to be completed by October 2014.

- Fairfax Media

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