Hall strengthening limited

The Queenstown Lakes District Council appears to be ignoring advice from a senior manager and consultants, recommending the Arrowtown's community hall not be strengthened to advised levels.

In May, the Otago Daily Times reported the Athenaeum Hall, built in 1870, had been subject to an assessment by Holmes Consulting Group.

Following that assessment, its capacity was reduced from 500, an ''Importance Level (IL) 3'' building, to 300, an IL 2 building, so it did not hit the ''earthquake prone'' threshold under the Building Act.

The Holmes report recommended the council strengthen it to above 67% of code, which would involve significantly more work than strengthening it to above 34%.

At that time, planning and development general manager Marc Bretherton told the ODT the cost to achieve the minimum level of code would be about $280,000. To get the building to 67% would cost around $490,000.

However, in the council's long term plan, released publicly last week, just $235,000 has been set aside for seismic strengthening of Arrowtown's public hall in 2016 and no further money has been allocated for the work.

Other proposed expenditure on the hall included $50,000 for a new roof over the supper room, $31,000 for exterior and interior paint and $10,000 for a new sound system, all pegged for next year; $35,000 to be spent from 2019 21; and $42,000 in 2017 for a new heating system.

Mr Bretherton told the ODT seismic strengthening had been discussed as part of the long term plan hearings and that was his first knowledge of the council's recommendation.

''Advice from me and the technical team was that the hall should be strengthened to 67%.''

When asked if the shortfall in funding meant the budget was not there to strengthen to above 34% of code, Mr Bretherton said he believed $235,000 would be sufficient to do the minimum work required.

-tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

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