The costs of the renovated Trafalgar Centre look set to climb even further with councillors asked to approve another $300,000 towards it this Thursday.
The extra money, if approved, will be used for “functional improvements”, which is understood to include equipment deemed necessary to attract big events.
Altogether, councillors are being asked to approve an extra $317,800.
Of that, $30,000 is for the high definition light cabling in the centre’s ceiling, $10,000 for the purchase of aluminium rigging and $50,000 to obtain acoustic advice on how best to implement a theatre space inside the centre.
The final $227,800 for “functional improvements” includes kitchen appliances, a cool room, a deep fryer, Wi-Fi hardware, signage, 80 tables, ‘blackout’ curtains, AV data projectors and other pieces.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese says the money is needed for the centre to be able to attract big events.
“We have done a business case on potential use at the Trafalgar Centre and the demand is really high, but if we’re going to move it up to that next level we’ve got to put some infrastructure inside it.”
Nelson Residents Association member and critic of the council’s handling of the centre’s redevelopment, Kerry Neal, says the proposal is “disgraceful”.
“It doesn’t surprise me, there’s been a continuation of deception when comes to the costings and this is another one. It’s so disgraceful, the whole thing.”
In July 2015 the estimate for the Trafalgar Centre redevelopment was $12.9 million.
But the council has already approved additional funds totalling $590,000, including $240,000 for the roof replacement in April, and other ‘additional improvements’ in July including the western corridor extension, north wall cladding and insulation and the north-east corner office facility.
Reese admits councillors have a “big call” to make when casting their vote.
“I’m not sure how it will go around the council table, I’ll be interested to see what everyone will have to say. But we can’t have it where every time someone wants to hire the Trafalgar Centre they have to hire tables as well.”