Council ponders cultural precinct

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014

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The Marlborough District Council will this afternoon decide whether to lease a building in Queen St and move the library to a site down by the Taylor River.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman confirmed yesterday councillors would consider two items in the public-excluded part of the meeting.

The two items were about property issues, and Sowman said the public would be excluded because of commercially sensitive aspects of the discussion.

The council takes ownership of the building housing the Floorpride Marlborough Civic Theatre next year when the theatre moves to the building being built on Hutcheson St.

Under the town plan designed in 2009, the library was to move into the theatre building, as it has outgrown its Arthur St site.

However, the Primary Health Organisation has suggested it could lease part of the building for its offices, moving into the central business district rather than being in the Wairau Hospital grounds. The council is now looking at renting out the building, rather than moving the library in there.

Instead, the library could be moved to new premises to be built on High St by the Taylor River, and it has been suggested the area could be made into a "cultural precinct", including the Millennium Art Gallery and a potential Rangitane museum for artefacts from the Wairau Bar.

This would rejuvenate a part of town that has been neglected, drawing more people to the riverside area.

Sowman said it was up to councillors to decide whether to proceed with that and to put some certainty to it.

A public statement would be made after the meeting, he said.

Building a "cultural precinct" would mean the council would have to buy several properties between High and Wynen streets, and staff confirmed in June the council was in negotiations with property owners. cathie.bell@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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