May 27, 2020

New build announced for the Balclutha War Memorial Hall

Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre Charitable Trust and Clutha District Council have reached a formal agreement to redevelop the Balclutha War Memorial site, by building a new multipurpose community, business and visitor hub.

Proposed facilities:

  • 400+ person multi-use auditorium with modern theatre technology, adjustable raked seating, flat floor stage.
  • Spacious atrium that showcases local art, history, the district as a whole and provides a platform for local tangata whenua and iwi to share their own kōrero of the district and their links to the river.
  • A central location for the War Memorial.
  • Tenanted retail and leased spaces, for money and best met the vision of the community.

We want to deliver to the community a statement of what is Clutha. A contemporary facility that catches attention, inspires and celebrates the local district while showcasing our culture, unique history and diversity. The hub will honour its foundations as a War Memorial Hall and pay homage to those involved in its original creation, while inspiring the next generations. The consideration around this facility was its longevity, its ability to attract and retain visitors and professional acts, to fill gaps in the modern commercial environment, to stimulate like-investment in the district, and ultimately to deliver on what was requested through the community consultation including a modern i-Site, Council Service Centre, Plunket, and mini theatre.

  • Business Hub featuring modern technological amenities, reconfigurable meeting, seminar and co-working spaces.
  • Utilises the existing prominent hall site, increased car parking spaces, relocation of the Balclutha Cenotaph, providing links and enhanced views to the Clutha River, the Balclutha Bridge, cycling and walking tracks and ties in with streetscaping.

Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre Charitable Trust Chairperson Dale Anderson said the new build option emphasised the best value process.


The Trust has been formed on behalf of the community and will have ownership, governance and management of the new facility.

Mr Anderson said Council approved of the Trust’s business plan which detailed an indicative build cost of $20 million. The Trust is currently investigating a number of funding options including a mixture of local council funding, central government funding and third-party funding sources such as philanthropic trusts and foundations, corporate sponsorship, public donations and fundraising.

Clutha District Council Chief Executive Steve Hill said Council supported the project in principle to allow the next phase to continue. Mr Hill said the Trust and Council were expecting further refining and cost savings, allowing for commitment from key stakeholders, and pursuing capital funding. Once the project progresses to a point where a cost to the ratepayer is confirmed, then it will be subject to consultation with the community, he said.

The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Council showing an initial commitment as a core tenant in the future facility, based on successful funding outcomes.

Why a new build?

Mr Anderson said the expected cost to earthquake strengthen and bring the existing building up to code was a quarter of a new build. This would result in minimal ability to meet any of the objectives of the community feedback or generate new revenue, costs going forward would directly impact the community.

It is vitally important that the facility is financially sustainable long term, not only to keep it affordable and accessible for the local community, but to allow it to evolve as the needs of the community do, he said. Next the Trust is undertaking geotechnical testing to mitigate immediate risk and to


The plans and artists impressions are conceptual only and are based around meeting the space requirements and needs that arose from the significant community feedback and the results of the recent feasibility study.

Published in the Clutha Leader.

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