Race on at Queenstown hall to meet seven’s rugby deadline

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A multi-million upgrade of Queenstown’s bedraggled hall is underway, with pressure on to ensure it’s available for the National Sevens.
 
Arrow International was awarded the $2,134,765 contract – exclusive of GST and contingency – on Friday and the overhaul of Memorial Hall officially begins today. 

The first stage must be complete by December 21 so the National Rugby Sevens – held annually in Queenstown – can go ahead at the adjacent Recreation Ground in early January. 

Johnson says: “This hasn’t made scheduling the work easy but the project team recognise that the Sevens are an important fixture in Queenstown’s summer calendar.” 

Arrow site construction manager Bruce Halligan says he’s well aware of the time and budget constraints. 

“…and will be working with the project management team and Queenstown Memorial Hall trust to meet both,” he says. 

The entire hall upgrade is expected to finish by February 28 next year. 

The secured Arrow bid takes the project’s total budgeted cost to $3,114,765 – down from the $3.13m approved by Queenstown Lakes District Council last month. 

Council consultant and project manager Graham Johnson says it was a closely contested tender process. 

The project was hanging in the balance two weeks ago, after the Lotteries Commission rejected an application for the final $800,000 saying it wanted to see a bigger contribution from council. 

Councillors voted at an emergency meeting on July 10 to grant $500,000 towards the upgrade from this year’s Queenstown Airport dividend and extend a $300,000 loan to the trust if it’s needed. 

Hall project trust chair Cath Gilmour, also a councillor, says she’s still aiming to raise a further $344,466. 

This will enable the trust either not to use or to pay back the council loan. 

So far the Central Lakes Trust has committed a whopping $1 million and council has tipped in $992,000 – excluding the $300,000 loan. The Community Trust of Southland donated $400,000 whilst a further $378,309 has been pledged via fundraisers, and community and private donations.