Arts and heritage is back near the top of the Invercargill City Council’s agenda, after councillors agreed to back deputy Mayor Toni Biddle’s motion to fast track Southland Museum plans.
Although the focus may now be on re-opening the museum rather than a major redevelopment, Toni said she was just pleased they had a timeframe to work towards.
“I’m so excited,” she said when contacted after the meeting. With the first step of having the council committed, she was surprised how many people wanted the old museum back open.
However, the council indicated that a five-month time frame to present options was unrealistic, and the chief executive said that external support would need to be called in to help with the process.
That could cost up to $250,000 to do the work.
Councillor Nobby Clark said council would most probably suggest two options: strengthen and re-open, or leave it as it is and be solely reliant on the temporary museum in the city centre.
“I don’t think many ratepayers would be happy with that. The heritage side of it needs to be in the museum…we need to tell the ‘Southland Story.’
He believed there was plenty of places for Southland art to be exhibited, “but we have to sort the heritage stuff out. And we need a new storage space area. It’s long overdue.”