SHARE

The questions of what a new $16million hall and events centre in Cromwell will look like and cost have led to a temporary reprieve in closing and demolishing the older building it will replace.

At a meeting of the Cromwell Community Board last week, board members opted to delay the closure of the Cromwell Memorial Hall on Melmore Tce, which was originally scheduled to take place on May2, as well as its subsequent demolition, which had been tipped for July or August.

Instead of approving the recommendation, the board opted to let the matter lie and consider the hall’s closure and demolition schedule at its next meeting on May 9.

That decision came after board members agreed it could not make a decision until costings and design/concept plans were looked at in more detail.

Deputy chairman Neil Gillespie said the decision was the right one as the board did not know what the new hall and events centre would look like.

He was quick to point out that the decision was not a criticism of the Central Otago District Council staff or the timelines set out in the recommendation.

“I just don’t get that there’s any rush to do that, no matter what,” he said.

Board member Nigel McKinlay agreed with the decision and said the council’s planning for the new hall needed to discussed with the board.

Council property and facilities manager Garreth Robinson said staff were trying to complete work within the funding periods set out in the council’s long-term plan.

Mr Robinson’s report presented at the meeting said the project team and architect, Jasmax, needed to develop concept plans which involved an investigation of the land the hall was built on and whether issues needed resolving before construction started in early 2023.

The proposed closure date of the Memorial Hall was set to allow Anzac Day to be commemorated at the hall. It would also give other hall users time to make alternative arrangements.

It also provided three months to carry out asbestos removal before the demolition.

A workshop with the board and consultants was being planned to establish the scope of the project in terms of scale, design and costings.

About $2.2million had previously been approved for the design project, with the total cost set at $16million.

An additional $6million had also been set aside for the provision of a new museum.