A GROUP of Armadale residents have slammed the proposed $4 million upgrade of the City’s 80-year-old district hall.
They say the funding could be better used to pay for the heating of the outdoor pool at the aquatic centre.
The group is also concerned about the impact the upgrade could have on the area’s already chronic shortage of carparking spaces, with a new lesser hall building being located in the existing carpark near the hall, claiming it would taking away up to 20 bays.
June Castledine said she did not believe there had been much demand from the community for the hall upgrade.
“For 20 years, at least, so many clubs and people suffering with chronic pain have been asking for a year-round heated pool,” Ms Castledine said.
“We just don’t hear anything about it but it seems that we’ve got to spend $4 million on this upgrade.”
Elaine de Ruiter said a stakeholders meeting, attended by about 60 people last September, gave a clear indication that the planned upgrade was not needed.
“About 95 per cent of the people at that meeting objected to the proposal,” Ms de Ruiter said.
“The new building is going to be right in the middle of the carpark. There is already a huge problem with our parking here.”
She said one of the justifications for the extensions was to separate the lesser hall from the existing building to enable two functions to be held concurrently.
“If there is a function in the main hall they are not going to be able to use the new lesser hall (and) have another function on at the same time due to not enough parking,” Ms de Ruiter said.
“Why spend $4.1 million on our State Heritage listed building which has got cultural significance to the whole area in so many different ways?”
Helen Treloar said retractable seating would reduce seating capacity and make it hard for seniors to access seats.
“It’s ridiculous, most of the people who go to shows there are seniors and we won’t be able to climb the steps anyway,” she said.
She said they would much prefer to be on the ground level.
Roleystone Theatre secretary Paul Treasure was also concerned that the venue would not be able to attract major shows and concerts, despite the upgrade, because of the hall’s small stage and backstage areas.
“It may have been suitable 60 years ago but all the technological equipment touring shows need won’t be able to be fit inside the hall,” Mr Treasure said.
He said the city needed a purpose-built performing arts centre, with adequate parking facilities.
Bree Hartley said she took dancing lessons in the hall when she was a child and cared deeply about preserving local history.
“When you can see it and feel it you have more of a connection than simply reading a story or looking at an inadequate story-wall,” Ms Hartley said.
“We need to feel connected to our past, all the lessons; we humans need to stop making the same mistakes are to be found in the past.
“Right here we have a chance, in the present, to ensure that connection is not altered beyond meaning.”
Ms de Ruiter said the hall was fully booked and working wonderfully for the community, but the group conceded the hall could do with airconditioning and maintenance as it continued to play a vital role in the community.
“Leave it as is, do some general maintenance and preserve this historic precinct of Armadale,” she said.
They urged concerned residents and groups to have their say about the proposal by putting in a submission to City of Armadale before 4pm, May 6 to the administration centre at 7 Orchard Avenue, Armadale or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survey forms can be downloaded from the city’s website at www.armadale.wa.gov.au, and further details on 9394 5000.