Events centre part of vision for Bluff

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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

The meeting was described 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. There were also plans for permanent undercover sites for stalls so that costly marquees did not have to be hired, 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.

Because of the site's history, tests would have to be done to ensure it was not once a Maori or European burial site, he said. There was already an archaeological site on the premises, he said.

 

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