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The Tararu Arts and Culture Building just outside of Thames is getting a $264,000 paint job. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Historic hall’s paint job doubles in price

District councillors were torn last week over a decision to vouch for a paint job that has more than doubled in price.
At its February 21 meeting, Thames-Coromandel councillors were told that the Tararu Arts and Culture Building just outside of Thames was in need of exterior paint work.
The Heritage New Zealand building had not been repainted for 32 years, councillors heard, but while a budget of $100,000 had already been set aside for the project, the updated cost of the work totalled $264,000 – $164,000 more than the original expected price.
This is because the labour needed to strip back the weatherboards was made more costly by the discovery of old lead paint; its removal must be notified to Worksafe.

Council’s property and facilities manager Jon Muston admitted the new price – which was provided by three tender applicants – did catch him “a little by surprise”.
“Yes, you can defer it, but you only defer the problem until tomorrow, and invariably, the problem tomorrow is more expensive than the solution today,” he said.
“I know it’s tough times with everything happening in the district, but these buildings still need attention.”
The building is considered a district asset so the cost of the paint job would be spread across all rateable properties – around $2 per rateable unit.
South Eastern ward councillor Gary Gotlieb and Terry Walker both questioned the timing of the expense, stating that there was still uncertainty around how much it’ll cost the council to repair infrastructure following Cyclone Hale and Gabrielle.
“I agree that 32 years ago is a long time but what’s the difference with another year or so?” Cr Gotlieb asked. “We just don’t know how much money we’re going to have to spend on our infrastructure… We need to spend money where it’s going to help a greater number of people.”
“I love the arts and I love this building… but I do have issues trying to justify it at the moment,” Cr Walker added. “I struggle with it at this time and wonder if another year would be best.”
However, Mercury Bay councillor Deli Connell said council needed to “look after” its historical assets.
“We have so few heritage buildings. It breaks my heart what’s been lost, so I’m definitely pro having this [done] properly.”
The vote was: Mayor Len Salt; Crs Robyn Sinclair, John Morrissey, Rekha Giri-Percival, and Deli Connell for; and Gary Gotlieb, Terry Walker, Peter Revell, John Grant against.
“I know it hurts at this time, but I think it needs to be done,” Mayor Salt said.
Staff are hopeful the repaint will be completed by the end of June.