Museum upgrade stuck in pipeline
Is it time just to call it quits on the upgrade?
Poll: It's the same story, different year.
The Southland Museum and Art Gallery redevelopment has no end in sight, for the seventh consecutive year.
And museum trust board chairman Darren Ludlow can not even estimate when Southlanders can expect to see the facility upgraded.
The redevelopment has been in the pipeline for the past seven years but Mr Ludlow said it was unlikely to be completed by 2017.
"Optimistically 2017, but realistically anything can happen between now and then."
But the museum was originally expected to be upgraded by 2011.
Between the Christchurch Earthquake and the collapse of the stadium, a number of factors had delayed the process and sucked funding from the project.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the museum had been a "victim" of the Stadium Southland collapse, but was still important to the council.
However, there has been little progress this year and even Mr Ludlow conceded there was nothing new to report.
"There isn't anything new at the moment, we have had the plans for the building reviewed and now we are just having the [plan] displays completed."
But museum manager Paul Horner stressed that the project was not on hold.
"As far as the upgrade goes, we are still working on it."
An earthquake seismic report was currently being completed and depending on the outcome, it would potentially decide the direction the redevelopment went in, he said.
"It's a 1940s building, plus about three extensions and they are unknown seismic capabilities and they could potentially pound together in an earthquake. From that we will get a recommendation that could go in one of two directions."
He stopped short of saying the report would mean the redevelopment was back to square one, but said the cost of earthquake strengthening had not been factored into the predicted $20 million earmarked for the refit.
"There's detailed preparation going on but it provides an opportunity to go right back to the beginning."
But Mr Ludlow was confident that the project would still go ahead and plans would be finalised and displayed to the public next year, after previous plans had to be scrapped because the project was scaled down.
There would be no consultation period though, and once the plans were released they would approach funders, he said.
"Once we have shown the public, then we are able to go back and look at the funding."
Community Trust of Southland have already committed $5 million to the project, along with the Invercargill City Council who have pledged $3.6 million.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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