The Soldiers Block: Exploration Continues
The Hurunui District Council have been working with the Soldiers Block Steering Committee and Heritage New Zealand to develop a multi-use proposal for the ‘Soldiers Block’ in Hanmer Springs.
The Soldiers Block is located in the Queen Mary Hospital Historic Reserve and the new development proposal is a six-in-one idea consistent with wellness and return on investment.
The Six Proposed Soldiers Block Spaces:
- Commercial and creative shared hub
- Community space for hire
- War experience and café
- Function space with commercial kitchen
- Movie theatre
- Temporary workers accommodation and managers flat
Council staff and elected members are keenly aware of a community desire to see the Soldiers Block restored and are exploring financial options for this latest proposal. The estimated cost of the project would be $7.3 million, meaning a significant amount of funding would need to be sought.
When Councillors were informally briefed on the project it was decided a business case would be developed to consider financial implications of the multi-use model and the appropriate ways to optimise return on the capital investment.
Chief Strategy and Community Officer Judith Batchelor explained current progress in exploring financial options. “It is possible to apply to Lotteries for two thirds of the necessary capital but, in order to do this, we first need to confirm where the final third would be coming from,” she said. “We would like to see some progress for the community on the Soldiers Block and will continue looking at how this may be accomplished.”
“It may seem like nothing is happening, but the cost and scale of a project like this requires careful planning to make sure development doesn’t become a burden to ratepayers.”