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Underway: Pictured inside the Te Atamira building site are, from left, development director Olivia Egerton, site manager Marcus Mulholland, quantity surveyor James Coutts, Georgia Scott, of Cequent Projects, Cook Brothers Construction regional manager Josh Gibbons, Enrica Flore, of Ignite, and project manager Aaron Passey

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Building work’s underway at Te Atamira, Queenstown’s new arts and culture hub, despite a $1 million shortfall.

Development director Olivia Egerton says Cook Brothers Construction won the tender and started tearing in to the job in the Remarkables Park Shopping Centre tenancies late last week.

Cook Brothers’ regional manager Josh Gibbons says the construction company was built in Queenstown, by Queenstowners, and they saw this project as the perfect way to give some
thing back by delivering a long-term asset to the wider community.

‘‘We want to use our skillset to benefit our community — that’s what we’re really about.

‘‘It’s like a social licence.’’

Egerton says the Te Atamira Whakatipu Community Trust decided to start work before Christmas so they could get some ‘‘long-lead items’’ ordered and, given the state of building costs at present, it made sense.

‘‘Waiting just means extra costs on the project at the moment.

‘‘There are a few pressures to get the doors open, given the need, so it’s time to keep going while we can with the funds that we have raised.

‘‘We aren’t totally there [with the funding], so come early March we’ll have to down tools if we haven’t got a bit further, but I’m hoping we’ll get there.’’

She’s expecting the almost 1400 square metres of space, spread over two tenancies — ultimately catering to about 30 different arts and performing arts in the Whakatipu — to be
finished and ready for action by April.

Te Atamira’s the recipient of donations from this year’s Christmas show, and while there
are a couple more grant rounds coming up, they’re not due to be announced till after the trust wants to get the space open, which is cutting it a bit fine, Egerton says.

‘‘This is one for the village.

‘‘A hundred dollars [as a donation] is a big step forward — it’s not about lots of zeros, it’s a little bit from everyone.

‘‘[The facility] is just so needed and it is a game-changer.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz