4 March 2019
Work to transform the Soundshell site into a community space is about to begin as part of the lakefront development.
The removal of the Soundshell building will begin this week.
The site will be transformed into a community space and additional boat parking. At the heart of the community space will be a wharewaka building which will house the ceremonial Te Arawa waka.
Contractors will take over the Soundshell site from today (4 March) and parts of the building will start to be removed by next weekend.
The Soundshell has been flagged for removal for several years. The building was closed to the public in 2015 and a number of issues including its structural integrity, general state of disrepair and the discovery of significant amounts of asbestos have meant retaining the building was not feasible.
During the next few weeks AP Demolition will prepare the site by disconnecting services, surveying and erecting safety fences.
By the end of the week parts of the wings (which contain little or no asbestos) will start to be dismantled and taken away.
The main building will remain standing for a number of weeks until all the asbestos can be removed. Specialist asbestos removalists will carry out the process which includes continuous electronic monitoring to check asbestos levels in the air. An independent asbestos auditing company will also be on board to ensure any risk to public or worker safety is correctly managed.
The entire removal is expected to take 10 weeks and all going well the site should be cleared and looking tidy by the middle of May.
This work is part of the wider Lakefront Development project.
Learn more about the Lakefront Development project HERE.
Roylettes Marching Team in the middle of a drill in a sports ground near the Rotorua 30,000 Club Soundshell, with a judge observing them. Date Period: 1950-1959. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections ref: NZMS 856-57
Plans to redevelop the lakefront date back to 2006 when it was identified as an important component for the upgrade of the central city with the view to creating a world class waterfront.
A refresh of the Rotorua 2030 Vision (The Rotorua Way) in 2017 identified lakefront redevelopment as one of a number of key projects that would drive future progress but would require partnership funding.
The lakefront upgrade is included in Rotorua Lakes Council’s 2018-28 Long-term Plan (LTP) which was adopted by the Council in late June following consultation. The 10-year plan has a major focus on improving and maintaining Rotorua facilities and infrastructure, while catering for growth and investing in the future.
Why was the decision made to remove the building?
The main part of the Soundshell is earthquake prone and also contains significant amounts of asbestos. Council decided it would be uneconomical to undertake the work required to make it safe as well as bring the building up to a useable standard.
Why wasn’t the café part retained?
Even though the café was not found to be earthquake prone it would have required significant works to bring it up to standard including a new exterior wall, new roof, renovations, asbestos removal and other upgrades.
What is going in this area instead?
In place of the Soundshell, as part of the Lakefront Development project, will be a new community space and additional boat parking. At the heart of the community space will be the wharewaka building which will house the ceremonial Te Arawa waka.
The development plan also includes new restaurant and café facilities, and space for commercial operators and ticketing booths. The new buildings will frame views across the lake to Mokoia Island and will have direct connection to the activity space.
How is this project funded?
This work is included in the project budgets that were confirmed in the 2018-18 Long-term Plan. The investment into the lakefront development is $40m with just under half of that being funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. The budget for the removal work is $153,000.
Why is an out-of-town contractor being used?
Council received four tenders for the removal work. AP Demolition was selected in a competitive tender process that weighted risk management, experience and cost. The selection was in accordance with Council’s local procurement policy. Local sub-contractors will be used during the removal process. AP Demolition also carried out the removal of the Scout Hall and Kuirau House in 2018.
What is happening to all the old building materials?
The contractor will recycle or sell on the reusable material which will help to offset the overall costs to Council.
How is the asbestos removal being managed?
Specialist asbestos removalists will carry out the process which includes continuous electronic monitoring to check asbestos levels in the air. An independent asbestos auditing company will also be on-board to ensure any risk to public or worker safety is correctly managed.
What happened to the building tenants?
The lease for Soundshell Market, which was a fixture in the building for 27 years from 1988, ended in June 2015. The main part of the building was closed to the public the following month. The Lakeside Café continued to operate until the end of its lease in February 2018