Visitors to Victoria Park recently would have noticed the Band Rotunda has been fenced off with a Waipā District Council notice that it was being investigated for structural integrity.

Following an inspection by property staff, the structure was closed last month because of Health and Safety concerns.

A structural engineer inspected the rotunda and confirmed the structure is unsafe, recommending options for repair.

On Tuesday Council voted to support the repair — estimated to cost $90,000 plus GST.

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This is capital renewal work, and can be loan funded with servicing costs about $9000 per year.

I agree that the Category 2 Heritage Structure should be repaired and retained.

Another option was to demolish the rotunda, but with an estimated cost of $18,000 plus GST for the physical work, plus extra costs relating to obtaining a required report from a heritage expert, consultation with Heritage New Zealand and considerable community engagement.

It was estimated total cost would be similar to the cost of repair.

I would like to throw another option into the ring — one which I proposed in 2004 when I was a member of the Te Awamutu Community Board.

I would like to see the rotunda relocated onto Anzac Green where I believe it would be better used by the public as shelter, seating etc. and be more accessible for its intended purpose as an outdoor concert venue.

In 2004 it was deemed too expensive and dangerous to consider shifting the structure.
Now that major work is required, the time is right.

Over the years I have known the Band Rotunda to be used once for a public concert — and that was an event I organised where Te Awamutu Brass presented a Christmas Concert in Victoria Park.

It didn't work, the reason being that the rotunda is not predominantly surrounded by level ground for patrons, there is limited parking and it is simply not a well-known landmark in its current location.

Anzac Green on the other hand is all flat land, a well-known park and is surrounded by parking.

In my view it is worth considering.

Coronation Rotunda

The Te Awamutu Band Rotunda was known as the Coronation Rotunda in its early years — but it nearly didn't survive past five years.

The idea for the rotunda was mooted in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V on June 22, 1911.

Soon after the coronation, on Thursday, July 14, the Te Awamutu Town Board resolved to issue subscriptions to raise funds to build a rotunda and access a coronation subsidy.

By October donations from public and businesses totalled £56 13s ($113.30) and in January 1912 a grant of £75 10s ($151) was paid to Town Board by Internal Affairs.

The rotunda was designed by Hamilton architect JW Warren and was opened in March 1912.

In May 1916 the rotunda was blown over in a gale— leaving just the concrete base.

There was heated discussion at the May Town Board meeting, as deficiencies in the structure had been identified prior to the gale, but the remedial work had not been undertaken.

In July that year Mr Warren reported to the Town Board and submitted plans for repair.
He offered them at no charge, but said he wasn't admitting any fault.

Mr Warren said if his original plans had been adopted in full the damage would not have occurred.

He said a shortfall in funds meant the balustrade in the design was omitted from the final structure.

Mr Warren said the balustrade would have added strength.

The Town Board agreed to the plan for repair.