Memorial Hall work further delayed

Plans to refurbish Cromwell’s Memorial Hall are at a standstill. Photo: ODT.
Plans to refurbish Cromwell’s Memorial Hall are at a standstill. Photo: ODT.
Progress on the $5.4 million upgrade of the Cromwell Memorial Hall has been halted by the district’s newly-elected community board.

The  upgrade has been discussed for more than 16 years and a lack of funding has caused delays. In recent years, the public has been consulted and plans finalised. In June, the board heard the redevelopment cost had reached $5.4 million and it voted to pay half that amount, seeking external funding for the other half.

The refurbishment was to begin in February and the topic was on the agenda this week at the new board’s second meeting. Tenders for the project were discussed in a closed meeting. Board chairman Neil Gillespie released a statement yesterday  which said the board did not accept any tenders.

"[Central Otago District] Council staff will now prepare a report to come back to the board in February 2017, at which time the board will discuss how it wishes to proceed regarding the hall," he said.

"I expect that if the board decides to make any change to the project that has been provided for in the 2015-25 long-term plan process and the subsequent annual plans, then a further comprehensive consultation process will be required with the community."

Mr Gillespie said the decision not to accept any tender reflected the concerns of some board members about the design, scope and cost of the project.

A motion to endorse the  project in its current scope, award no tender and apply to external funding bodies at the same funding level plus 4% escalation was lost.

This meant the board had an approved design, and had budgeted for 50% of the funding. It did not have the 50% external funding in place at this stage.

The June decision by the previous board formed the basis for going to tender, Mr Gillespie said.

Located in Melmore Tce,  the hall was built in the 1950s by the community. It caters for up to 330 people.

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