Museum questions

Despite a $4.4 million price tag, the new building to house the Kaikoura museum, library and council offices in West End could go ahead without any public involvement.

Kaikoura Information and Tourism members were invited to a presentation last week by council chief executive officer Stuart Grant, councillor Neil Pablecheque and Kaikoura Historical Society chairman Danny Smith.

The concept drawings were made available and the funding for the project was explained.

However the presentation has raised as many questions as it answered in terms of consultation and consents because although there are some breaches of the district plan, the process may end up being non-notified.

The proposed building breaches the plan in terms of height, in some parts by as much as four and a half metres. It also lacks a verandah and on-site car parking, both of which are also stipulated in the district plan.

Mr Grant said parking issues could be overcome by using the existing West End car park, which is rarely full, and owned by council. If car parking became a problem in the future, alternatives would be looked at, perhaps at the Deal St entrance.

But business owners who have spoken to the Kaikoura Star since the meeting have said they are not only concerned with the car parking and building height, but also about the costings and lack of transparency from council. It is possible the whole process could be handled in-house, with council staff preparing and issuing the consents required.

Mr Grant said the nature of the breaches would be the determining factor in whether or not the project ends up being notified.

While the building did exceed the district plan requirements, it would be the effects of this rather than the breach itself which would need to be looked at.

"It's generally only notified if it doesn't comply or it's a reasonably major breach of a performance standard," he said.

Some are also questioning the return for local businesses financially if the project goes ahead.

Mr Grant said the knock-on effect for the town, in particular West End, could be huge, and the Historical Society believe the new museum has the potential to be one of the top land-based attractions in the Marlborough region.

It is anticipated the entry fee would be between $10 and $15, and temporary exhibitions could also be hosted to attract visitors.

The total cost of the building  without allowing for extra car parking  is $4.4 million.

This equates to two per cent of overall rates, at $100,000 per annum.

For members of the public wishing to have a closer look at the plans, these will be available at the upcoming meetings to discuss council's long-term plan. Four meetings have been scheduled around the district, the first of which is on May 29 at the Memorial Hall.

Kaikoura Star