Hall verdict likely by year’s end

The Luggate Memorial Hall. Photo: Tim Miller
The Luggate Memorial Hall. Photo: Tim Miller
By the end of the year Luggate residents should have an idea about what their memorial hall will look like in the future.

Queenstown Lakes District Council staff are working on the options for the hall, which was found to be an earthquake risk earlier this year. QLDC property manager Richard Pope said all options were "on the table", from strengthening the existing hall  to a complete demolition and rebuild.

It was hoped a final option would be found by the end of the year, Mr Pope said.

The cost of strengthening or rebuilding the hall would be known once all the options had been investigated, he said.

The community would be also be consulted on the options. Some Luggate residents took the chance to remind councillors at a recent council meeting in Wanaka of how important the hall was to the town.

Luggate Community Association chairman Graeme Perkins told councillors the community was divided on whether a new hall should be built, or the existing one strengthened, but they were united in wanting something done as quickly as possible.

In the past year, the hall had been used by the community on 114 days and was already virtually  at capacity.

"For those who always wondered what went on in that dusty old place ... in the past year we’ve had a range of events, including children’s play-groups, dances, yoga and tai chi classes, meetings, concerts and singing workshops, dog obedience classes, a week of Festival of Colour performances, two weddings and one funeral."

The hall was also the community’s civil defence base, which meant there was extra pressure to refresh or rebuild it, Mr Perkins said.

Luggate resident and hall booking manager Dave Hawkins said the township had already outgrown the hall, but was concerned  building a new hall could take years.

Another local, Graham Taylor, told councillors he believed the only way forward was to start "afresh" and build a new hall, but it needed to be completed in a timely manner with the support of the community.

Initially, after the hall was found to be earthquake prone in April, the QLDC allowed it to stay open, but a sign was posted at the entrance advising people of the risk.

After a report in August found the hall was only at 15% of the earthquake strengthening  standard, its use was no longer permitted.

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