FAQ and HAC Corrections

Q    When will the new stage be completed?

We are 4 years into the project. Architect appointed Feb.2015

Q    Who owns The Haven Amphitheatre?

The Haven is a well used  asset of Willoughby City Council. The Haven is managed by a  Committee of Willoughby Council.

Q    How many Shows in The Haven per year?

The number of shows/performances can vary from year to year.  In many years there are more than six shows. However some of these shows may have multiple performances.

Q    Can I park at The Haven?

There is no parking at The Haven Amphitheatre. We supply buses from the local shops as there is no parking on site and very restricted parking in the local area.

Q     What seed capital was offered by Willoughby City Council?

Pat Reilly our late mayor suggested up to $150,00 could be requested by the committee.

Q       What materials may be used for the reconstruction?

WCC has specified concrete,  steel and/or  compact cement sheet decking (as is the current stage).  WCC has said wood is not an option because of its  non compliance with bush fire regulations for this bushland site.   

Q        Is the committee committed to the current design as proposed on the council site?

No. This concept was completed to assist the committee to raise funding for a DA.  

Q          Is the proposal over engineered?

No construction plans yet exist. 

Q       What are the concrete buttresses in the proposal.

They were just a proposal.   No permanent roof is required. No buttresses are  required. No design for the new stage yet exists.

Q        What are the maintenance issues with the current stage?

The forty year old timber pile construction  has a compact cement platform. The cement sheets move due to varying temperatures and therefore  require frequent resealing. . The support structure has been inspected and deemed non compliant with current codes. Council has requested we cease productions on the current stage. Council have now installed a fence around the old stage.

Q         What should the platform be constructed of?

This is an open question.  A low maintenance unified material (ie  in one piece) is preferable.  The material should be silent when jumped on ie it must not drum.  Many performances are video recorded and quality audio recordings are made. The stage  must never leak as delicate electronics, lighting, audio, and staging equipment are stored under it.

Q        Is it necessary to have storage under the stage?

Modern productions require audio, lighting and all the effects of modern theatre. The production team cannot afford to spend several days setting up a production. The undercroft has the installed lighting power racks and all cables are underground for lights and the audio systems. There is a dedicated area for performers to change and a minimal food preparation area. A flush toilet  and hand basin are also provided.

Q       Are there toilets in The Haven?

Yes, a flush toilet is installed under the stage for performers. The audience is catered for with a rented Porta loo. It is the intention of the committee to upgrade to include a disabled Porta Loo.

Q       Is there disabled access to The Haven?

The site is steep with stone steps. However we have a flat area where coffee and tea are served. Chairs are available for those able to get that far. Those in Wheel Chairs are accommodated at this time on The Barricade at the ticket sales area. It is proposed to have  a specific flat viewing platform off the road for the disabled so they will not need to negotiate any steep slopes.

Q        How many people  use The Haven?

Dozens of community parties, meetings, visits, weddings, tours, tai chi and yoga classes, picnics and other informal gatherings  take place in the Haven every year. The Christmas Carols attract an overflow audience every year exceeding 350-400 on occasions. Film nights have attracted varying numbers from 50 plus. Many theatrical productions have had audiences of many hundreds over several evenings. A mixed faith service was sent  live to the the USA. Major TV productions have been shot with multiple cameras and an Outside Broadcast Van was used for those productions such as Christmas Carols and James Morrison concert. The Walter Burley Griffin Society occasionally uses The Haven for lectures and it is a feature of their walking tours.

Cabaret has proven popular with all shows quickly selling out. See the posters of past events on this site.

Q          Who is the committee?

See the elected committee members as published on this site. We are a management committee of Willoughby Council. The Haven is a an asset of Willoughby Council.

The Walter Burley Griffin Society  statements

These statements have been dealt with previously with The WBGS.

It is unfortunate that the same misconceptions are repeated in 2104 and 2015. They include the following: 

1. Excessive excavation of the significant natural gully terrain for the creation of a ‘green room’ and storage under the stage.
No plans exist at this time  for the replacement stage. The previously put proposal had used the existing cavity. Excavation is very expensive and intrusive. No large rocks need to be excavated.
2. The destruction of heritage features of the site such as large sandstone boulders that were iconic ‘stage’ elements within the 1930’s use of the amphitheatre.
No such destruction has been mooted. The undercroft with the below ground boulders was built around a rock. The iconic rocks that Marion Mahony Griffin used as stage elements are some distance from the undercroft.
Rocks have previously been identified and discussed
The  rock pictured on page 9 of the WBGS letter does not appear to be the rock referred to as the Prometheus Rock by Marion Mahony Griffin.  The rock on page 9 of the WBGS letter is on the far western side of the creek and under the existing stage whereas the Prometheus Rock (shown in the photograph on page 3 of the WBGS letter) was on the eastern side of the creek in the area Marion used for a stage.
3. The covering of the natural creek line through the construction of a culvert and additional seating. The creek is a significant heritage feature of the site that should be celebrated and made visible, not covered.
 No change to the creek is proposed.   A couple of rows of seats to replace a fence has been proposed on OH&S grounds. The creek will still be intact and visible.
As previously discussed
The concept to which this objection refers is not the final proposal as outlined at the top of this response.  All the elements of rock, landform, the creek, trees and vegetation are critical parts of the essence and character of the site.  The design concept presented to date nestles itself within these elements, creating a softer and visually lighter response to site than the current irregular stage.  This is particularly clear when the Haven is viewed from lower in the gully looking up. The concept has the flexibility to be developed further to respond to its site, particularly as more heritage, environmental and landscape elements become defined through the process.
4. The impact of the enlarged stage and additional excavation on a very significant Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum). The proposed stage protrudes into the root zone of this historic tree.
  The current stage has 34 copper treated  piles,  some being very close to this tree. The proposal had 12 piles away from this iconic valuable tree. No changes to the ground cover around this  tree are mooted.
As explained from previous correspondence
The Angophora pictured in the top photograph on page 8 of the WBGS letter is well away (many meters) from any proposed concrete structure of the proposed slab. Moreover concrete columns can be positioned so as to avoid any interference with the tree.  The lower photograph of the construction site bears no resemblance to the HAC Proposal in size or scope and is therefore not relevant and appears to be misleading.
5. The visual impact of the enlarged stage and rain awning. These structures would dominate the very small bushland reserve / glen. The thin linear bushland around this site is what gives the amphitheatre its special heritage value.
  An improved stage shape sitting into the landscape (same depth) with a portable awning at the back (only used if it rains). No bush is being compromised. No trees are to be affected.
As explained to the WBGS previously
Such a weather protection awning will be useful for all equipment and in particular for the extensive electronic equipment used in modern theatre, music and lighting. Moving such equipment out of the rain quickly and keeping water off a section of the stage greatly improves safety issues for performers and crew alike.   The need for a code compliant handrail as a non negotiable safety issue is discussed above.  The awning support structure is subject to further detailed design, and may in fact not be required to touch the ground at all.
6. The large building apron necessary for concrete construction and associated concrete formwork and lay-area for sheets of steel reinforcing would also detrimentally impact the trees, bush and rocks of the steeply sloping glen.
 The construction style has not been specified. We have no plans from the Council yet.
We note concrete was a preferred material of the Griffins. Concrete is one of the specified materials in the Deed of transferr.
Previously explained
Formwork sheets will be of the size most efficient to carry out the construction works.  These materials are limited in size due to manhandling and weight, generally 1.2m x 2.4metres (standard sheet size).  Reinforcement bars are more likely to be used than sheet reinforcement as used in residential construction.A detailed construction plan has not been prepared at this time.  Different methodologies have been discussed such as defining a material handling zone outside of the site, or even the potential of a scaffolding platform being erected over the stone seating (both to protect and to provide a workarea). All these elements will be covered in the Development Application and most likely will form part of any tender for the works.