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Victoria Theatre hearings finish

March 8, 2006

Victoria Theatre hearings finish

Two poems, a mime and a song made the Victoria Theatre hearings process more interesting than most.

Hearings finish today, with more than 150 people heard on five days over the last month.

More than 4500 submissions were received on Victoria Theatre in Devonport, which North Shore City Council is considering buying 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, says the creative nature of some of the submissions was a surprise.

"We've had Tim Finn singing a specially-written song, two poems, including one by The Devonport Druid, and a mime," she says.

Three options were proposed for Victoria Theatre, including purchasing and leasing, not purchasing, or purchasing and placing a heritage covenant on, then selling Victoria Theatre.

Seventy per cent of respondents favoured option 1, buying the building then leasing it out. This option is estimated to cost $2m - $1.55m 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.

While the hearings are now complete, deliberations will be held on March 28, with the committee's recommendation expected to go forward to the full council for a decision at its April meeting.

ENDS

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