Yaldhurst residents given more time to save their hall

LIMBO: The Yaldhurst Memorial Hall has been out of action since the February 22, 2011 earthquake. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

Yaldhurst residents now have until April to come up with a business case to save their memorial hall.

The Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board backed a plea from residents to give them additional time to investigate the feasibility of restoring the Yaldhurst Memorial Hall. The board voted on it last Tuesday.

City council staff recommended demolishing the 64-year-old war memorial hall on Pound Rd at an estimated cost of $50,000 to $75,000.

Residents have been in discussion to save the hall with the city council since last year, but believe a business plan to restore it is needed before a final decision.

The hall has been closed since it was damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

Yaldhurst Memorial Hall Committee member Michelle Clark was “grateful” for the board’s decision to give them more time. “It’s wonderful that the community board has given the extension,” Miss Clark said.

City council staff proposed to remove memorial plaques from the hall before demolishing the building.

But Miss Clark said the memorial is the building, not the plaques.

“The plaques inside, although forming part of the memorial, the hall itself is actually the memorial.”

The land was gifted by the Yaldhurst community to the city council for guardianship, Miss Clark said. With the additional time given to Yaldhurst residents, they will look to find out the cost of repair.

“Added to that, we want to work out where we can raise money if we can’t get commitment from council or local sources,” Miss Clark said.

City council staff said repairing the hall would cost $1.5 million. But residents want to see if it could be done for less.

“We’re pragmatic that the council has many financial concerns, but in this case, we think in the 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day to pull down a memorial without knowing the true cost of repair . . . is a rushed decision,” Miss Clark said.

Last year, the community board voted to demolish the hall, but it reversed its position to for more consultation with residents.

Community board chairman Mike Mora said board members felt additional time was required by residents.

Mr Mora supports the restoration of the hall.

He said the hall was one of many council-owned buildings that were under-insured by the city council at the time of the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

There is no budget to restore the hall.

Board member Debbie Mora successfully requested that residents get access to the building.

Miss Clark said this would allow for engineers to inspect the hall for their business case.


MEMORIAL: Residents say the Yaldhurst Memorial Hall is itself the war memorial, not the plaques on the building.