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Call for Memorial Hall supper room upgrade

July 9th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

Community Board chairman David Ogilvie is calling for an urgent upgrade of the Memorial Hall supper room facilities, but Council says if we want it that badly Motuekans will have to pay for it themselves.

In his report to the July community board meeting tomorrow, David lists the deficiencies of the supper room and its kitchen, calling the venue "an embarrassment", and estimates a total cost of $30,000 to bring it up to a modern standard fit for Council Committee meetings, hearings and other events.

David's report was triggered by the experience of a council Engineering Services Committee held in the room last month, when the boiling Zip, audience movement and cold air often distracted proceedings.

"The kitchen facilities were basic while the supper room was cold, draughty and noisy," David said. "The comments about the venue from Councillors and staff amounted to a chorus of complaints. My only defence was 'It is a Council facility and we've been first improving the stage and auditorium of the hall'."

Improvements required for the kitchen, estimated to cost $10,000, include a replacement water heater and refrigerator, two new microwaves and a rack to hold them, an extractor fan and a dishwasher.

The supper room itself needs two quiet heat pumps, replacements for the old trestles and chairs, new floor coverings, improved lighting and drapes and several minor repairs. David estimated a cost of around $10,000 for this also.

Rounding it out would be some external improvements including wheelchair access, broader steps, some flower plantings, and a higher standard of toilets.

David had hoped that as a first step $10,000 could have been made available from council's Community Board Rate, but instead Tasman District Council has reduced that rate from last year by $2.12 per rateable unit, making for a $10,000 reduction in the money available for the community board to pursue such a project.

David's view, expressed in emails to council staff, is that retaining the Community Board rate at its 2011-12 level would have freed money to start the supper room improvements while ratepayers would forego a 4 cents a week rate reduction. Any improvements to Memorial Hall may now have to come from the board's 2011-12 surplus and/or other existing budgets.


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