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Carbonear theatre in need of new wheelchair lift

By Mark Squibb/May 26, 2022

An important piece of equipment at the Princess Shelia NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear needs to be replaced.

Deputy Mayor Sam Slade explained the wheelchair lift to the stage is currently out of order, and that a service technician has advised the Town that parts aren’t available, and that the machine would therefore need to be replaced entirely — at a cost of between $30,000 and 35,000.

Council unanimously approved calling for tenders, but not without some discussion.

“I’m just curious, instead of a new lift, is there any way there could be a ramp put back there, so we’re not depending on mechanical equipment?” asked councillor Danielle Doyle. “We can’t source parts now, so is there room back there that a ramp could be out there that will be there forever?”

Director of Operations and Public Works Ian Farrell said he would look into it.

Doyle added she wouldn’t want to see council in 15 or 20 years time once again making motions to replace the elevator.

Deputy Mayor Slade said that with the theatre opening again and shows being staged, it would be shameful to not have a system in place, should it be needed. He agreed with Doyle that the Town should look at having a second option to access the stage in case the lift fails.

Councillor Malcolm Seymour said there was a balance that needed to be struck when purchasing the new equipment.

“The lift that’s there now, it’s been there what, 25 years? And it’s obsolete to the point that we can’t get parts for it,” said Seymour. “But I’m operating over in Carbonear General Hospital, and we’ve got elevators over there now 50 years old that are still working. So, somewhere along the road we have to look at something that’s going to be feasible for us in the long range.”

Construction recently finished on a long-planned expansion to the theatre, which included the addition of a large multi-purpose room, kitchenette, and improved backstage area, including renovated dressing rooms and washrooms.

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