Vision for Bluff

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 11:59 13/12/2013

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Bluff could have a new entertainment centre and town square if the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival committee goes through with its plans to demolish a historic building in the town.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the committee planned to build an entertainment centre on the site of the Club Hotel if its plans succeeded. 

The committee presented its vision to the council in a public excluded session this week.

Both the council and the festival committee described the meeting as ''positive'' and Mr Shadbolt said councillors were responsive to the ideas.

''I think, generally, councillors seemed sympathetic towards it. There's all sorts of potential there.''

Mr Shadbolt said the committee's plans included an inside stage and entertainment centre for the town, as well as a town square.

The committee planned to have permanent undercover sites for stalls so they did not need to hire costly marquees, he said.

Mr Shadbolt said the committee was looking for funding from the council, but there was no final figure.

However councillor, historian and Bluff Community Board city council representative Lloyd Esler said the plans could be hampered by the expensive and extensive excavation the site would require.

''Part of the consent to demolish is you have to excavate.''

Mr Esler said he supported the plans, but was concerned that one of Bluff's most significant buildings could be demolished.

He hoped the facade could be retained.

The festival committee has yet to buy the site, but is negotiating with the owners.

Mr Esler said the council had been given a map of the site, which outlined the proposals for the area.

Because of the history of the site, tests would have to be done to ensure it was not once a Maori or European burial site, he said.

There was already an archaedhological site on the premises, he said.

''I hope that we can get the event centre in Bluff because there's all sorts of things that could happen in that.''

Festival committee spokesman Evan Peniall did not want to comment on the committee's plans.

He said the plans would not be completed in time for next year's event, but organisers hoped to be using the site for the festival in 2015.

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- The Southland Times

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