A new museum build for Invercargill city has been given the green light.
Invercargill City Council adopted its 2022-23 Annual Plan at a meeting on Tuesday 28 June, which included the approval of a proposed new build for the museum.
Invercargill City Council committed in its Long Term Plan 2021-2031 to invest $39.4 million to redevelop the region’s museum and art gallery and agreed to review whether a new building would better meet the region’s needs.
During consultation for the Annual Plan in April, the community was offered three options – one which would strengthen and refurbish the existing pyramid, and two new builds, one 4150m2 and the other 3550m2.
While the larger new build was the Council’s initial preferred option, after receiving community feedback during consultation, Councillors opted to proceed with Option 3, the smaller new build.
Councillor and Performance, Policy and Partnerships Chair Darren Ludlow said Option 3 was the prudent choice.
While Option 3 is reduced in size from the preferred option, it is still larger than the current space on-site and off-site storage will mean more usable space for both exhibitions and staff, he said.
“Basic living costs are rising, along with costs of construction,” he said. “We are aware that people are struggling and the decisions here reflect that.”
As part of the chosen build, a new home for the tuatara will be purpose-built in the Queens Park grounds and an off-site separate museum and art storage facility will be built in Tisbury.
“Discussions are ongoing with iwi and the Department of Conservation before final decisions are made regarding both of these taonga,” Ludlow said.
The Annual Plan adoption also settles on a rates increase of 6.53 per cent.
Council had forecast a 4 per cent rate rise in its Long-term Plan, however, an increase in costs have seen this figure rise.
As a result of the changes to the museum project, the addition of City Streets Upgrade Stage 2 and increases in operating costs for the likes of our solid waste activity, Council had adopted a 6.53% increase in rates for 2022/2023, he said.
An additional $13m, over the Long-term Plan’s figure of $39.4m, would now be required to build the new museum building, storage facility and tuatara enclosure, with the total project forecast now $65.5m. City Streets Upgrade Stage 2 would see an investment of $13.6 million into an upgrade of Kelvin and Esk streets over three years.
“We’ve worked hard to manage the rates increase required while delivering what the community needs both now and in the future,” he said.
For more information about the Te Unua museum project please sign up for updates at icc.govt.nz/community/museums/te-unua-museum-redevelopment.