Theatre in need of improvements

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 21/03/2012
Waimate's Regent Theatre

TRANSFER SOUGHT: A trust seeks to own Waimate's Regent Theatre.

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The ownership of Waimate's Regent Theatre will be transferred amid several major concerns.

The Waimate Regent Theatre Trust has asked for the Waimate District Council to transfer ownership to the trust so it can secure funding and make planned improvements to the facility.

A transfer would be conditional upon the council providing annual funding to cover rates and insurance, in addition to a building maintenance fund of $13,000 each year. The theatre's annual insurance costs $8500.

The trust wants $21,500 annually plus a CPI adjustment.

The theatre is still to be inspected by assessors following suspected earthquake damage at a potential cost of $25,000.

Sheryl Frew, of the theatre trust, says it is difficult to fund-raise for an asset the trust does not own. She says the first concern is the 50-year-old toilets, which have leaking cisterns that occasionally flood the bathroom area.

The trust has also asked the council to contribute $4000 towards the cost of upgrading the hot-water system and kitchen facilities.

Ms Frew says the trust will seek funding from other organisations to make up the $20,000 kitchen-upgrade budget.

"The trust is also planning on painting the outside woodwork, steps and hand rails this year and looking at installing a digital projector system which would increase the range of films and events that could be held in the theatre."

Property manager Sue Kelly has asked the council to transfer ownership, subject to community agreement through public consultation.

The trust first wrote to the council in 2010 requesting a possible transfer.

The theatre was established in 1958 to replace the old Arcadia Theatre, which was burned down.

In 1982 Kerridge Odeon sold the Regent Theatre to the trust for $90,000. The community raised $36,000, and local authorities underwrote the balance because the trust couldn't secure a mortgage, with the theatre being signed over to the council.

In 1986 significant improvements were financed by the trust with the assistance of the $36,000 provided by the community.

A Memorandum of Lease was drawn up in 1987 which formalised the terms of any future winding-up of the trust and recorded the purchase of the theatre. Funding of $65,000 was approved by the council for works upgrade in 2008. The property has a capital value of $330,000.

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- The Timaru Herald

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