A Gore District Council grant means the fundraising for the new lift and seismic strengthening project at the SBS St James Theatre can go up another level.
At the Gore District Council meeting on Tuesday night, councillors passed a recommendation from the grants committee that $60,000 be given to the Gore and Districts SBS St James Trust, which oversees the theatre.
After the meeting, theatre trust chairman Craig McIntyre said the grant put the fund over the threshold needed to apply for a Lotteries Commission grant for stage one of the project.
“Now we can proceed with the next step in the fundraising.”
The redevelopment fund had reached $233,000, which meant the trust had at least a third of the $690,000 needed and was eligible to apply for a Lotteries Commission grant for the rest.
The trust was glad of the council’s support.
“It shows that they appreciate we need to have a modern theatre facility in Gore that is user-friendly to the public,” Mr McIntyre said.
The trust hoped to install the lift and begin the structural work in 2020.
Grant committee chairman Doug Grant said that when the trust’s application was discussed at the committee meeting, members were very supportive.
“With the population of Gore getting older, the committee was unanimous that we fund it.”
Councillors who spoke to the recommendation at the meeting were also positive.
Cr Neville Phillips said the application reflected the kind of development the council was interested in being involved in.
“I believe it is a good cause and should go ahead.”
Cr Bronwyn Reid said she wondered where the district would be if it did not have a facility like the theatre.
“We’re big on the arts in the town,” Mrs Reid said.
It was her understanding that 42,000 visited the theatre a year.
“That is massive for a small community.”