Theatre project hit by delays due to Covid

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
The impact of Covid-19 is one of the factors affecting the SBS St James Theatre reconstruction.

The project, which was originally priced at $1,290,300, has now more than doubled in cost to $2.7 million.

Theatre trust chairman Craig McIntyre said the price of the lift had ballooned.

"There was a delay of three years and the price [rose] from $1.4 million.

In 2019, the project was priced at $735,000.

The delay and price increase was also caused by a rising cost of living and sourcing issues, he said.

Rising costs of labour and materials also impacted the cost of the project.

"At this stage we are just going to [do] the lift and the structural work because that is the most important work.

"By having that done it means that the building is secure for the future."

The list of items in the project included structural work, lift installation, toilet upgrades, foyer refurbishment, renovations to and replacement of the roof over the smaller theatre.

Once the structural work and lift were complete the project would be put on hold.

"This is just so we know we can complete that work."

However, if the project made financial gains through the different stages, the remaining funds would transfer into the next stage of work.

"If we make savings along the way then we can continue to do the toilets ... and work our way down the list."

Trust members knew they had the funds to accommodate the price increase but would still look for funding.

"If there are people out there that want to donate money to the project, it will help us get a little bit further down the line.

"We’re pretty grateful we’ve got this far."

The trust had received grants from Community Trust South, Transpower, Gore District Council and the Lottery Community Facilities Fund.