The Trafalgar Centre’s future is uncertain, and could be bulldozed unless a solution that doesn’t cost tens of million of dollars can be found. Photo: Andrew Board.

$13M upgrade for Trafalgar Centre recommended

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The demolition of the northern end of the Trafalgar Centre, as part of a $12.956 million upgrade of the city’s premier spectator venue, has been recommended to Nelson City Council.

At a meeting in the council chambers this morning, councillors heard a report presented by council project manager Richard Kirby, which recommended the demolition and then rebuild of the northern end of the centre, including the Victory Room, foyer and toilets.

The centre was closed in December 2013 after the council – which owns the building – deemed it a major risk to life in the event of a big earthquake.

Richard says the report showed the current building was “brittle” in the event of an earthquake, but that liquefaction would not be a major issue.

The recommended option from the report would see around $12 million spent on the centre, which would include the demolition and rebuild of the northern end, strengthening work on the western edge of the new southern end and $7 million worth of work to the main building.

Currently around $10 million is set aside in the long term plan for the upgrade of the building.

If that option was picked up by councillors next week, it would mean the proposed northern end wouldn’t open until June next year, four months after the deadline council put on the building reopening earlier this year. Richard says the rest of the centre could be opened but with some disruption.

To pull it down and build a new one on the same site would cost around $25-$30 million, says Richard.

Nelson’s Gaire Thompson spoke in the public gallery and says too much time and money has been spent already.

“I reckon we’ve been conned. We’ve spent more talking about this than fixing it. That really concerns me.”

Councillors will make a decision on the report next Thursday.