The Stoke Memorial Hall was closed at the end of March due to its earthquake-prone rating. Photo: File.

‘Basic’ repairs only for Stoke Hall

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Stoke’s earthquake-prone memorial hall was the hot topic at Nelson City Council last week, with a lengthy debate on how to move forward with repairs.

At a meeting on Thursday, the community services committee approved a recommendation to commence design for seismic strengthening to bring the building to 67 per cent of the new building standard (NBS).

A total of $1.2m has been allocated for the work in 2020/21 – with $500k of this potentially coming from the Provincial Growth Fund for town and memorial halls.

Parks and facilities asset planner, Jane Loughnan, told councillors that if their application is successful, they would need to move “at pace” and begin physical construction within six months.

“If we’re unsuccessful, I’m proposing that we carry out the design work as we had originally planned for in this financial year, with the strengthening and other work to be programmed through the long-term plan.”

The hall, built in the early 1950s, has been closed since late March after it was deemed an earthquake risk, affecting 10 regular groups and users.

It was assessed in 2014 as being 24 per cent of the NBS, however, it is now determined likely as having a 17 per cent rating.

The work proposed includes the seismic strengthening as well as roof painting, basic leak fixes, window maintenance and minor repairs, painting the exterior/interior walls and ceiling, rewiring, a new switch board, toilet upgrade and asbestos removal/ management.

Council has also requested officers to provide additional information for hall improvements, due to some unease around the table regarding if they should be “going all the way” with the upgrade.

Cr Pete Rainey suggested incorporating an acoustic treatment and removing the stage to increase usage, while Cr Kate Fulton questioned why energy efficiency measures weren’t included in the proposal, such as insulation, heating and ventilation.

“I guess I’m concerned we are doing some basic work and not going all the way … should be we raising the bar?”

But Jane said these would be cost prohibitive and they are “just looking at doing the basics”.

“In our network of halls this is our basic community hall type and if people required additional facilities the Greenmeadows Centre is just up the road.”

The recommendation will go to a full council meeting on 13 August.