A last-minute rush to save one of Christchurch's most popular post-quake attractions crashed a fundraising website this afternoon.
A campaign to save the city's Pallet Pavilion is $10,000 short of an $80,000 goal. But that cash will be returned to donors if the fundraiser doesn't meet its target by 6pm on Saturday.
The team behind crowd-funding website PledgeMe, which is hosting the fundraiser, say a rush of late donations overloaded its servers this afternoon, keeping the website offline for more than three hours.
A much-loved venue, Pallet Pavilion was built by 250 volunteers out of more than 3000 recycled wooden pallets and is designed to fill one of the many empty spaces left by the Christchurch quakes.
One of the organisers behind the project, GapFiller's Coralie Winn, says the last ditch effort to save the Pavilion has been a "rollercoaster" of emotion.
"We're pretty close, and while there is a lot of money that still needs to be raised, it really is so much closer than where we were a wee while ago," she says.
"It's a symbol of what you can do if there's an amazing shared vision."
Organisers had been planning to shut the door on the building, as costs were too high to sustain, but changed their minds after a public outcry.
"We decided in March that retaining it wasn't an option," Ms Winn says. "We hadn't been able to find any additional funding to sustain it."
"And then so many people – people from council, people from CERA as well as people just walking by – were saying 'why does it have to go'."
In one last-ditch effort, the fundraiser was set up to raise the hefty sum needed to cover maintenance, security and a venue manager.
Donations have flown in from all over the globe and the project is now the most successful in PledgeMe's history.
But some locals aren't happy with the prospect. Local Rob Benden says he'd rather see something else in its place.
"The Pallet Pavilion has been great," he says. "But at some point in the future it will become old, stagnant, boring and rundown.
"Lets replace it while we still have only good memories of the place, rather than later, and have those good times marred by memories of a old, tacky and rundown pile of pallets."
Others are fully onboard, with local James Dann saying it's a wonderful to see community-based projects in the city.
"It is literally bringing life into an empty space," he says. "It's something that, especially on a sunny Sunday afternoon, is bringing people into markets – something that wasn't there before.
"The vintage market that I went to last weekend was just full of people and they seem to really have made the best use of the space."
A fundraising concert, featuring musician Lawrence Arabia, will be held to mark the end of the campaign on Saturday night.
source: newshub archive