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Upgrade and strengthening planned for Napier's War Memorial Conference Centre

Inside the War Memorial Conference Centre, Napier. Napier City Council is looking to bring forward its planned refurbishment of the War Memorial Conference Centre in order to combine it with required earthquake strengthening.

While an earthquake assessment of the building is still being completed, early indications are that work will need to be done to bring it up to current national building standards.

It was not expected the assessment would require the centre to close before the work began, Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack said, however, with a planned upgrade in the pipeline, it made sense to do both at the same time to lessen the impact.

“During our recent Long Term Plan the upgrade and extension of the War Memorial was one of the things we consulted on. Feedback was 92% in favour of the upgrade. While we initially had planned to wait for a few years – the indication from the earthquake assessors that work will be needed means it’s sensible to rethink our timelines for the refurbishment.”

Mr Jack said he hoped to have more detailed information in the next few weeks, however, the initial plan was to start work later this year.

“There are many things to work through but there will be no redundancies and our staff will continue in their roles.”

Councillors were briefed and people with existing bookings would be contacted over the next week.

“Unfortunately because we don’t have all the details we need, we can’t provide any dates around when exactly the work will be done or how long it will take. However, staff will be tasked with looking at all other venue options in Napier and will be providing our clients with those and will be working with them to ensure all their needs are met.“

Mr Jack said engineers have been engaged and he hoped to have more information in time for the next council meeting on 30 June 2015 including costs of all options, funding impacts, possible timings and the building seismic assessment report.

“By incorporating strengthening solutions into the alteration and extension proposals, the building strength can be enhanced without the equivalent costs that would be incurred if any strengthening works were conducted independently,” he said.

 No major upgrade works have been undertaken at the War Memorial Conference Centre in the last 20 years.

3 June 2015

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