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CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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The Christchurch Arts Centre is radically overhauling the way it is governed as it tackles a huge heritage restoration project.

The move comes as the centre prepares to reopen more than half of the historic complex to the public by the middle of next year.

The Arts Centre has put a private bill to Parliament that would change the way board members are appointed and remove the right of public bodies to directly appoint members.

The board would be dissolved and new members would be appointed in a competitive process.

Currently, board members are named by public bodies including the Christchurch City Council and the Civic Trust.

Under the new proposals, those bodies could nominate a board member, but not appoint them. Nominees would be assessed and appointed by a committee comprised of the trust chairman, a board member and two independent advisers.

The centre will also advertise for new board members, inviting applicants with appropriate skills.

Director Andre Lovatt said the move would not limit public representation on the board.

The board needed people with fundraising, financial and property management skills to assist a $290 million restoration of the quake-damaged complex.

The bill also includes a measure for an "armageddon scenario" that would temporarily transfer ownership of the Arts Centre to the Crown if it went bust.

Lovatt said the Crown would take ownership only in "an Alpine Fault-type scenario".

Meanwhile, the restoration of the centre continues and more than half is set to reopen by the middle of next year.

College Hall and the Clock Tower will be open by June next year, along with the Boys' High and former gymnasium buildings.

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- The Press

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