Sponsors to have fees say

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014

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Len Lye Centre sponsors will be consulted on how much to charge for entry fees.

This week the New Plymouth District Council narrowly voted in favour of charging admission fees for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the multi-million dollar Len Lye Centre.

Around $11.5 million was raised for the controversial centre and the money came from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, central government, Todd Energy, the TSB Community Trust and private donors.

Yesterday Simon Rees, director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Len Lye Centre said key stakeholders would be consulted before he wrote his business plan for the council. They, along with other interested parties, would also have that opportunity to make a submission to the council before it decided the admission charges, and who would pay them.

Rees said access had been an important issue for funding partners and private donors.

‘Funding partners had either expressed value statements about access to the museum in their contracts, or indicated that view as part of the rationale for their contribution, he said.

Last year former councillor Lynn Bublitz said Len Lye Centre sponsors contributed millions of dollars towards its construction in the hope admission would be free for all.

But he was not aware of formal agreements made about free entry, he said.

Earlier this year the Dunedin City Council investigated introducing entry fees for their cultural facilities.

While it was proposed residents of the town would get in at no charge, visitors would pay a fee to visit the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

It was expected to generate a net profit from the second year onwards, a report to the Dunedin City Council said.

In the end, the council chose to not introduce the entry fees because visitor surveys and historical data indicated there would be a reduction in visitor numbers.

Stakeholder groups for the gallery were also largely opposed to the charges.

The admission fees for the Len Lye Centre and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery will be set before the building opens midway through next year.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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