Theatre construction put on pause while approvals sought for electrical work

Twyford president Bill Deveril with vice president Charles Cooper, are waiting to be able to open the doors to theatre-lovers but work has been delayed due to electricity supply issues.
Twyford president Bill Deveril with vice president Charles Cooper, are waiting to be able to open the doors to theatre-lovers but work has been delayed due to electricity supply issues.

Work on the new Twyford Theatre has been paused while electricity supply issues are resolved.

Twyford ambassador Frankie J Holden said it was frustrating but the committee remained hopeful that the new theatre would open by the end of the year.

"Everyone presumed the power would come off a pole outside the theatre in Market St but with the complexity of the technology in the theatre it was not enough," Frankie J said.

It was decided that the power would have to come from a substation in Beach St, close to where the old Visitor Information Centre was located.

"It meant that we would have to tunnel under Beach St to bring it to the building and would require another Aboriginal heritage assessment," he said.

Seating in the auditorium is now installed.

Seating in the auditorium is now installed.

The issue was discovered in December but the first two bureaucratic hurdles have been ticked off. The Aboriginal heritage assessment has been completed and approved and the NSW Department of Planning has given approval, Frankie J said.

"Now we're just waiting on Essential Energy to approve the plan that we have submitted with Core Electrical but none of these bureaucracies will work concurrently and so we have to wait until each step is completed," he said.

A spokeswoman for Essential Energy said the company certified technical drawings for the site in July 2021.

"Unfortunately, the approval process was slower than normal as correct information was required for The Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit," the spokeswoman said.

Seating and stage area.

Seating and stage area.

"The customer was advised their most cost effective solution would be connecting from the existing substation on Beach Street, Merimbula.

"Essential Energy is awaiting a 'Notice to Commence Construction' application from the customer's contractor which is the next step in the process.

"Once this application is submitted Essential Energy will liaise with the customer's contractor to confirm an outage date which will allow construction to be completed," the spokeswoman explained.

While there is still work to be done such as the commissioning of the audio visual, sound and lighting technology, this can't take place until the power is brought into the theatre and as a result the committee has paused construction of Theatre Twyford.

The foyer.

The foyer.

"After examining available options with the builder and project manager, THI (Twyford Hall Inc) has decided to end the current building contract and use grant funds to complete essential work already committed. The present delay is because, some years ago, it had been assumed electricity would come from Market Street. It was later found power would need to come from the substation in Beach Street instead. Getting planning approval for that connection has taken much longer than expected."

"The builders couldn't finish the job until services were connected and the contract provided for delay charges while the job wasn't finished. Rather than spending significant taxpayer funds on delay charges, THI decided to end the current contract until essential services are in place and work can resume," Frankie J said.

"It is obviously very frustrating to be delayed at this late stage, but in these times we have to go with the flow and exercise a little patience. Theatre Twyford will be worth the wait."

The history of a theatre build

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