Proposed pathway to open Museum agreed

Invercargill City Council is pleased to have unanimously agreed on a proposed pathway forward for the city’s much-loved museum, following months of doubt, discussion, and anguish.

His Worship the Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt acknowledged the community’s strong desire to see the pyramid reopened – a desire that all councillors share.

Councillors have agreed to ask the community as part of the Long-Term Plan process if it supports strengthening and refurbishing the museum on its current site at an estimated cost of $52.2million.

The move comes after Councillors considered a report which outlined all the options to reopen a museum, and Councillors discussed which option they preferred.

“By choosing the option that we have, it will be affordable for Council. Rather than having more delays we will be able to start work next year, should the community support our proposed option,” Sir Tim said.

Infrastructural Services Committee Chair Ian Pottinger said the report, which was discussed by the committee at its meeting on Tuesday 1 December, was a fantastic in-depth look at all the options for the future of the museum.

“Those options ranged from the bare minimum ‘patch it up and move on’, to a brand new build, similar to one of the options in the Tim Walker report,” he said.

“Councillors felt strongly the bare minimum wasn’t truly an option. It wouldn’t be fair to our community as it would not future-proof the building or honour the collection within.”

Performance, Policy and Partnerships Committee Chair and Southland Museum and Art Gallery Trust Board Chair Darren Ludlow said having clarity about who owned the museum building had simplified matters, and Council was happy to take full responsibility for the project.

“We are also fortunate to have the fantastic He Waka Tuia open. There is a cultural heart to the city with talented staff showcasing our heritage from this transitional museum space.”

Deputy Mayor Nobby Clark said if the community agreed with the proposed pathway forward, he was delighted Council would be able to move quickly on getting work underway.

“In this LTP, Councillors wanted to ensure we placed a greater emphasis on heritage, arts, and culture than in previous LTPs,” he said.

Councillors had thoroughly discussed what their preferred option would be, and had considered wider budgeting needs as part of those discussions.

“We felt this was the best long-term option, and it will save us having to revisit it in 15-20 years.”

The report identified five options for strengthening, refurbishment or rebuild of the museum, along with cost estimates and estimated timeframes for completion.

Option Refurbishment/rebuild Cost estimate Timeframe
A Minimum Refurbishment – 34% NBS $25.3m 27 months
B Minimum Refurbishment – 67% NBS $26.6m 37 months
C Full Refurbishment – 67% NBS $52.5m 37 months
D New build, existing floor area $75.4m 48 months
E New build, expanded floor area $85.5m 48 months

“While we have indicated that option C is our preferred option, that will be subject to public consultation as part of the LTP. We wanted to ensure we could start work as soon as possible, and option C will allow us to do that with the wider city budget being considered,” Cr Clark said.

“We are united in our approach, in that we want the community to be able to enjoy their museum once again, safely, and with the collection protected.”


Related information:

Background information
Infrastructural Services Committee “Southland Museum and Art Gallery – Options”
The Building Intelligence Group – Options Report