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Huntly War Memorial Hall on the road to recovery

Waikato District Council has released $140,000 of funding to allow initial work on the refurbishment of Huntly War Memorial Hall to be completed.

Council has approved the early release of the funding which was scheduled in the Long Term Plan for later years.

In the past few months a local community project group has been working with Council to assess the work required to reopen the hall, which has been closed since 2015.

The project group has been working with qualified tradesmen to plan and cost the work required. Materials and labour has been offered free or for discounted rates.

Initial work includes:

• Removal of water damage due to leaking roof;

• Removal of defunct gas hot water cylinder;

• Work required to make the roof watertight;

• Electrical works to allow the Hall to be reconnected to the power supply;

• Addressing fire safety or building warrant of fitness issues;

• General tidy up and clean of hall facilities.

A long-term maintenance and work programme will be developed by the project group to address building usability issues, legislative requirements and for general refurbishment, which will be addressed at a later date.

The project group would like to form a hall committee in future to take over the ongoing operations, maintenance and future refurbishment of the hall.

The community project group is made up of residents Des Maskell, Tony Perkins, Graham Gunn, Sandra Stewart (Huntly Community Board), Councillor Frank McInally and Donna Rawlings (Waikato District Council).

Waikato District Council Projects Team Leader Donna Rawlings says the partnership with the community group is an example of Council’s new vision of Liveable, Thriving and Connected Communities.

“It’s taken us a while to get to this point but we believe working with the group is the right way to get the Huntly War Memorial Hall back to a state in which it can be used by the public again,” she says.

Tony Perkins of the community project group says it’s exciting to be in a position to progress this project.

“It has been a frustrating few years since the hall was closed but it’s great that this group has a healthy working relationship with Council, and we have started getting a few things done so that this treasured hall can be used by the Huntly community,” he says.

The project group is aiming to open the hall to the community to show interested parties the condition of the building and what is proposed to restore the building to its former glory.

At the same time the project group intends to hear the thoughts of the public about the future of the hall.

“We would invite ideas and comments to enable us to push forward to make the Huntly War Memorial Hall a place of celebration and a lasting memory to those who fought so gallantly to give us our freedom,” says Des.

This will coincide with the World War 1 Centenary on 11 November 2018 and the hall will be open from 10am to 1pm.

The project group will also be able to show the local community the progress made so far.