Wellington Movie Museum and Convention Centre gains public support
There seems to be little standing in the way of Wellington's proposed movie museum and convention centre now it has gained public support.
In December, Wellington city councillors voted in principle to buy land opposite Te Papa, paving the way for a $134.4 million combined convention centre and movie museum project.
The complex will house a movie museum on the bottom two floors and a 1100-person convention centre at the top. It now looks set to get the official go-ahead at the end of June.
In February, the council agreed unanimously to approve the statement of proposal and gave Wellingtonian ratepayers a chance to voice their opinions in a public consultation process from February 15 until March 15.
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The council received 109 submissions from individuals and organisations on whether it should support the proposal, and whether a combined museum and convention centre was a good idea for Wellington.
Councillor Jo Coughlan, chairwoman of the economic development committee, said 90 per cent of respondents supported the idea and 84 per cent supported the actual proposal.
About 77 per cent of individual submitters were supportive, 71 per cent of community and not-for-profit organisations gave their support, while 100 per cent of commercial submitters agreed with the proposal.
"Work is still being done but everyone is working hard to make this happen. It's looking positive and it's very reassuring the public are in favour. It's another step closer to the green light."
The project was seen as a catalyst for economic growth, with tourism driving the growth, she said.
Submitters also noted it was good timing because Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown were set for new convention centres and a combined centre would give Wellington a point of difference.
Submissions against the project focused on the council's involved in the activity and whether it would it be a burden on ratepayers.
During this and the next two financial years of planning and construction, ratepayers will pay at least $5.9 million of the cost. Once open, the facilities will cost ratepayers about $2.3m a year to run.
Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said a chamber survey in April showed 85 per cent of members supported the convention centre, 92 per cent supported the museum, and 75 per cent supported the combined project.
Movie Museum Ltd (MML) project director George Hickton said: "It is pleasing to have such a positive response, it is consistent with the interest we are seeing in the project from many parts of the community."
The movie museum will be built in partnership with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, and will showcase Jackson's extensive collection of movie memorabilia. The Movie Museum Ltd will pay for the exhibitions and fitout.
The council predicts the unique combination of the two will contribute $38m to the local economy each year.