View of arches to be short-lived

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Locals and recent visitors to Balclutha may have sensed a new visual openness at the north end of the town’s main shopping centre, something many will not have seen in their lifetime.

But the freshly revealed view of the Balclutha Bridge will soon be gone just as quickly as it arrived.

Once all the building debris from the recently demolished Balclutha War Memorial Hall is removed, contractors Calder Stewart will start construction of a new Clutha Community Hub, which is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Prized views of the bridge from Clyde St will then once again disappear as the $15 million project takes shape.

The views, however, will not be totally gone as the bridge will form part of the internal vista visible from within the new hub, which will include a 400›plus person multi›use auditorium with modern theatre technology, adjustable raked seating and a flat floor stage.

The facility will also have a spacious atrium showcasing local art, history and the district as a whole, designed to provide a platform for local tangata whenua and iwi to share their stories of the district and their links to the river.

The hub site was chosen to be a central location for the town’s war memorial and tenanted retail and leased spaces, which will include a modern i›Site, council service centre,Plunket and mini theatre.

There will also be an associated business hub featuring modern technological amenities, and reconfigurable meeting, seminar and co›working spaces.