Suter upgrade a 'great opportunity'
The Suter Art Gallery's long-awaited upgrade has got the final go-ahead.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese and Bishop Suter trustees Ian MacLennan and John Hambleton put pen to paper yesterday in the mayor's office.
MacLennan was "very excited" about formalising the agreement.
"I think this is a great opportunity for a renewal of this really important institution for Nelson and Tasman," he said.
The redevelopment of the regional gallery's building and facilities will be preserved, refurbished, and strengthened, with some rebuilding of parts.
The $12 million project has been funded by the council and the trust with support from the community through fundraising.
A project manager had been appointed and expressions of interest for the tenders to carry out the work are being called for, with a start date for construction in December.
MacLennan said it had been a long road, with the trust needing to become a council-controlled organisation before it could proceed.
The Nelson council, the trust, and the Government passed an act in parliament in 2008 allowing this to happen.
Mayor Reese said she was indebted to the current and past trustees of the board who had worked hard to see the project come to fruition.
"It's an identity for Nelson, it's part of who we are," she said, thanking the trustees for their commitment.
"This is a significant and very positive step for the city. The Suter Gallery is nationally significant and we need to honour the history that is there, but also set the Suter up for the next 100 years or longer," she said.
"Good things take time - sometimes longer than we all would have liked - but the very positive part of this project is that it is owned by the whole of the Nelson community.
"I often watch projects come through the council process and we have positive and negative feedback around them. This is one where I am watching a community just bursting to celebrate the opening of this building."
Reese said it was important to keep the Suter on its original site to continue its history, but it would be missed as it moved off location while the gallery was upgraded.
The trust is in the process of looking for temporary premises in the CBD while the project is undertaken and hoped to make an announcement on where this would be soon.
Work on the gallery is expected to be completed by the latter half of 2016.