The Balclutha War Memorial Hall project just took a major step forward with the announcement that the Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust and Clutha District Council have reached a formal agreement to redevelop the facility.
Trust Chairperson Dale Anderson said a new build option emphasised best value for money in creating a high-quality community amenity to inspire the current community and next generations through wider access to the arts, theatre, our districts’ diverse culture and local heritage.
“This compelling new community, business and visitor hub will also honour its foundations as a war memorial hall and pay homage to those involved in its original creation,” Mr Anderson said.
He said Council approved the Trust’s Business plan which detailed an indicative cost of $20 million to undertake the new build.
Clutha District Council Chief Executive Steve Hill said Council was supporting the project in principle to allow the next phase to continue.
Mr Hill said the Trust and Council were expecting further refining and cost savings, allowing for commitment from key stakeholders, and pursuing capital funding.
Once the project progresses to a point where a cost to the ratepayer is confirmed, then it will be subject to consultation with the community, he said.
The two organisations have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Council showing an initial commitment as a core tenant in the future facility, based on successful funding outcomes.
Mr Anderson said the Trust were currently investigating a number of funding options including a mixture of local council funding, central government funding and third-party funding sources such as philanthropic trusts and foundations, corporate sponsorship, public donations and fundraising.
“We recognise the significant community investment and importance of the current building and we will be looking to reflect that within the new facility. We will be looking at options to reuse existing areas of importance through the design process.”
He said the cost to bring the existing building up to code and earthquake strengthening significant areas of the structure, was a quarter of the cost of a new build, with no perceivable difference seen after the investment, no additional ability to meet any of the objectives of the community feedback, and no ability to generate new revenue - meaning the costs going forward would directly impact the community.
The Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust has been formed on behalf of the community and will have ownership, governance and management of the facility.
“Therefore, it is vitally important that the facility is financially sustainable long term, to not only keep it affordable for the local community, but to allow it to evolve as the needs of the community do.”
“With this being a community driven project it was of utmost importance any redevelopment of the Balclutha War Memorial Hall allowed the facility to be accessible to all aspects of the local community.”
It also provides a platform for the local tangata whenua and iwi to share their own kōrero of the district and providing links to the river.
The business plan shows artist’s impressions that are conceptual only and based around the community’s space requirements and needs from the significant community feedback and the results of the recent feasibility study.
The trust is about to undertake geo-technical tests to understand the ground characteristics of the proposed footprint to mitigate immediate risk and to inform the design phase of the project.
Following geo-technical testing was the finalisation of the procurement process, and development of detailed designs to refine the interior and exterior look and optimise the efficiency of space.
Initial Concept Plans of the Clutha Hub include:
- Utilising the prominent location of the current Balclutha War Memorial Hall site including:
- Enhanced and significant additional car parking.
- Views of the Clutha River and historic Balclutha Bridge, and direct links to the riverbank, walking and cycling trails.
- Relocation of the Balclutha Cenotaph to a garden area near the bridge.
- Landscaping that provides synergy with other community enhancement projects including the Balclutha Bridge entrance upgrade, cycling and walking trail development and streetscaping.
- Reconfigurable offices and tenanted spaces
- Business Hub that provides modern, high tech, flexible office and meeting spaces for a range of configurations, long term and short term.
- Seminar/function/meeting spaces
- A range of spaces for commercial lease such as possible cafe, and existing tenants - Plunket
- Modern visitor I-Site
- Council Service Centre
- Mini theatre (20-50 pax capacity)
- 400+ seat capacity multi-use auditorium with:
- Modern theatre technology/backstage
- Flat floor stage
- Reconfigurable raked seating
- Access to meeting/function space
- Access to a commercial kitchen
- Close approximation to break out spaces.
- Large atrium with:
- Dedicated War Memorial space
- Museum display space
- Central circulation and entrance point
- Direct link from town to riverbank via a bridge
- Circulation and seating spaces with access to charging ports and free wifi
- Modern toilet facilities
- Commercial Kitchen
- Sustainable features:
- Energy efficient and environmentally sustainable heating system
Further information and updates can be seen via the projects website: