12 Mar 2021

Brisbane City Hall's new auditorium floor costs $565k, timing of work questioned by Labor

The 100-year-old floorboards in the Brisbane City Hall auditorium have been replaced at a cost of $565,000.

The auditorium in the centre of the 1930s-era heritage-listed building at King George Square will reopen early this month.

In 2009, the council launched a $215 million restoration of the building, including the auditorium's dome.

The restoration was triggered by a three-volume report that found the entire stone building was steadily sinking into its swampy foundations.

But the council did not replace all the floorboards in the main auditorium after it found most were still fit for purpose.

Vicki Howard, the chairwoman of the council's community, arts and night-time economy committee, said most of the auditorium's timber floor was retained and refurbished during the 2013 restoration and that only 20 per cent was replaced.

"We are now getting on with the works to replace the majority of the timber flooring which has reached its end of life after playing host to hundreds of events over the years," Cr Howard said.

"The timber being replaced is understood to be about 100 years old."

'Priorities all wrong'

In 2010, then-lord mayor Campbell Newman told the ABC the floorboards were being removed one by one, catalogued and carefully restored before being replaced.

Cr Howard said the project to replace the floorboards began in December and a final oil coating had now been completed.

But opposition leader Jared Cassidy questioned the urgency of the repairs, asking why the floorboards had to be replaced immediately after the LNP administration had enacted cost-cutting measures in its 2020-21 budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year the council suspended kerbside collection for two years, estimating the pause would save $2 million.

"This LNP Lord Mayor [Adrian Schrinner] has his priorities all wrong," Cr Cassidy said.

"He's cut kerbside collection, saying council can't afford it, but then spends $500,000 on shiny new floorboards for City Hall."

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-02/brisbane-city-hall-auditorium-has-new-floor-installed/13110288

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