Bid to review settlers museum fails

The Otago Settlers Museum narrowly missed having the final stage of its redevelopment reviewed yesterday.

But the possibility any delay could drive up the cost of the project, or jeopardise the government funding on offer, convinced a majority of councillors it was not a good idea.

Cr Lee Vandervis moved a review should go ahead for stage four, the glass entranceway to the building, which will have room for reception, a shop, and a gathering space.

He said the "rather fantastic glass triangle" design could not be justified, and called for extra time to be set aside to write a report with other options.

His idea was backed by Cr Syd Brown, who asked whether a more cost-effective design could be found.

Octa managing director William Cockerill said half a million dollars of savings had already been found, though he was not prepared to say that would be a final figure until tenders were finalised.

He said if stage four was stopped or redesigned, a major redesign and major construction work in other areas of the building would have to be done to compensate for the changes.

About $30 million of the $38 million project had been committed, he said.

Cr John Bezett was clearly angry the idea had been brought up so late in the annual plan process, and said it was not fair the public had not been able to have its say.

Cr Jinty MacTavish argued a report could be done in a short time, and might just reassure councillors they were heading in the right direction.

But Mayor Dave Cull said although it was important to reconsider projects if they could be done better, it was too late in the spending process to change the project.

The motion was lost seven votes to four.


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