Mullumbimby’s historic civic hall may well be too hot in summer and too cold in winter, but a call to air-condition the building has met with a luke-warm response from councillors.
The hall’s board of management had asked for air-conditioning to be installed
and Cr Simon Richardson took on the cause with a notice of motion to do so.
But after some debate about the merits of air-conditioning versus other temperature-control methods, councillors decided instead to have staff assess the building for other options to ameliorate temperature extremes and to report back next month.
Cr Richardson said the lack of air-conditioning for the old hall, which was renovated in 2008, could affect the viability of the cultural asset because hirers were moving events to other venues as it was ‘freezing in winter and boiling in summer’.
He said the hall’s original designers had ‘failed to address features of a sub-tropical climate’, like many other old buildings.
He claimed the added cost of air conditioning would be ‘more than met’ by extra usage of the hall as major hirers say they looked elsewhere to hire venues because of the ‘unacceptable conditions’.
But Cr Tony Heeson said it would be an enormous cost to maintain air-conditioning and that alterations to increase ventilation were a far cheaper solution.
Cr Heeson said air-conditioning the hall would set a precedent for other shire halls which didn’t have it.
‘The bookings at Bangalow’s (A&I) Hall are almost double that of Mullumbimby’s, but this can be resolved without using air conditioning,’ he said.
Cr Ross Tucker said ‘we’re asking the hall to do things it was never designed to do’ with modern-day events using amplified music.
Cr Tucker said electricity prices would soon rise by around 25 per cent in NSW so running costs would increase and council shouldn’t be ‘too reckless with funds’.
Mayor Jan Barham said the Bangalow and Mullumbimby halls could not be compared as Bangalow’s hall was on a hill and much cooler.
Hall board chairman Peter Westheimer earlier appealed to councillors to install air-conditioning which he said was ‘cheaper than it used to be’.
He said a person fainted from the heat at one of the music concerts recently, so it was becoming a health and safety issue.