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Dates set for Victoria Theatre hearings

January 25, 2006

Dates set for Victoria Theatre hearings

More than 4500 submissions have been received about Victoria Theatre and 184 people have asked to speak at a series of hearings that begin on Wednesday, February 8.

North Shore City Council is considering whether to buy the privately-owned Devonport theatre because of its heritage value. This is not provided for in the current City Plan, and consultation was required before any decision to amend it.

North Shore City's community liaison manager, Lisa Tocker, was not surprised at the high number of submissions.

"Consultation brochures were sent to every household and business across the city so there has been a high level of awareness about it, and the building is well known," she says. Three options were proposed, including purchasing and leasing, not purchasing, or purchasing and placing a heritage covenant on, then selling Victoria Theatre.

Of the 4579 submissions received, 70 per cent favoured option 1, buying the building then leasing it out. This option is estimated to cost $2m - $1.55 purchase to purchase and $495,000 to upgrade - plus $122,000 a year for maintenance.

Ninety-one per cent of submissions from people in Devonport favoured buying Victoria Theatre, but only 51 per cent of those from other areas - both within the city and outside of it - supported that option.

Victoria Theatre was built in 1912, but it was a major alteration in 1929 that gave the building its current distinctive appearance. In the North Shore City District Plan, the theatre is classified as a Category A building.

"After the hearings a recommendation will be made, for consideration at the full council meeting on March 22," says Lisa Tocker.

For a list of elected members, people are invited to visit the council's website, www.northshorecity.govt.nz.

ENDS

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