Theatre, museum building to be quake strengthened

He Waka Tuia Art + Museum at Community House, cnr of Kelvin and Don Sts, Invercargill.

STRENGTHENING work will be required for another two cultural spaces in Invercargill.

The Civic Theatre and the building housing the temporary museum and art gallery, He Waka Tuia Art + Museum at Community House, will be labelled as earthquake-prone for a short period while work to upgrade some areas of the buildings is undertaken.

However, Invercargill City Council leisure and recreation group manager Steve Gibling said assessments showed the continued occupancy of both buildings was appropriate.

“We know these are two important spaces to our community and we are confident the work to bring our buildings up to standard will happen quickly,” he said.

“Both the Civic Theatre and He Waka Tuia will continue to operate during this time, and there will be minimal impact on exhibitions and shows as the works are completed.”

Council infrastructure group manager Erin Moogan said seismic assessment found work was required to tie the gable ends into the roof structure of the Civic Theatre’s auditorium building.

The temporary art gallery and museum building had a lack of connection between walls and the roof.

“Strengthening work will involve installation of plywood sarking to external roof elements and installation of fixings to roofing components and wall structures.”

In 2018, the Southland Museum & Art Gallery building at Queens Park was closed to the public because it was deemed earthquake-prone.

The council pulled its staff from the building and the decision caused frustration for the community.

Last year, the council confirmed its intention to spend $52.2 million on strengthening and refurbishing the museum.

However, following the long-term plan hearing, it decided to establish a group to review, assess and make recommendations on the best outcomes for the museum.

It would also consider preferred locations and test whether there were any alternative sites.

Last week, the council revealed the members of this governance group who would make recommendations to elected members about the issue.

South Island director Rex Williams is chairman, and runanga appointee Evelyn Cook, Gavin Bishop, Trish Lindsay, Lou Sanson, Roger Beattie and Simon Owen complete the group.

A preliminary report from the group is expected by the end of the year.