Film sets to be demolished, materials recycled or dumped

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A pair of unused film sets built in the Waitaki district for a film that never eventuated are to be torn down and disposed of, ending a saga that has dragged on since 2008.
The sets at Falstone, near Lake Benmore, and Elephant Rocks, near Duntroon, were built for the failed production Kingdom Come, a film about the life of Jesus Christ which never got off the ground.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he was pleased the issue had now been resolved, but he still would have liked to have seen the film made.
“The ideal situation would have been for them to find the money, make the film and distribute it as originally intended. It would have ben great for the community and the employment of extras in the province. It would have added well to our economy and it would have been another film around the
world that had Waitaki in it.
“That wasn’t to be, but we are at the stage where demolition is to happen and I’m pleased council thought ahead along the way and got a bond put in place to cover the cost of demolition.”
The film company had paid a bond which covered the $250,000 bill to demolish the sets, with some left over to manage the process.
The demolition process will involve the separation of timber from polystyrene “rocks” used to construct the set buildings and pathways, and trucking it to the Timaru landfill.
Demolition was expected to start this week, and Mr Kircher said any suitable materials would be recycled.
When he posted the news on Facebook last week that the sets would be demolished, some were quick to suggest alternatives, such as developing one or both of the sets into a paintball range.
However, he said, while some good ideas were put forward, the fragile nature of the sets ruled out any development.
“The uses suggested for it would be great if it was a real construction, but it’s not, and I guess that’s the way it is.”
While there was no completion date for the demolition, Mr Kircher said the Falstone set would be demolished in time for this camping season.