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Sir Eion Edgar bequeathed $500,000 to get the wheels moving on a hall revamp and to keep it in Dunedin, but son Jonty Edgar said this did not inspire the council to get in touch with his family before councillors decided not to express interest in hosting the hall any more, as well as choosing not to give the cash-strapped facility a $100,000 funding top-up.
The council’s decision-making is considered to have harmed Dunedin’s chances of keeping the hall and Mr Edgar found out from media reporting.
The hall has been at the Dunedin Railway Station since 1999, but it is no longer considered a suitable venue, Sport New Zealand suspended its $100,000 grant and the city council chose not to give the hall another lifeline to keep it open.
"If they had come to us and asked about funding in the short term, we would have been open to a discussion," Mr Edgar said.
"We would love to reopen dialogue about how we can make this work.
"Let’s focus on trying to get Dunedin back in the picture."
Sir Eion, who died in June, made a late change in his will to pledge $250,000 for capital development and $250,000 for exhibition redevelopment at a facility he envisaged would be at the Edgar Centre indoor sports complex in Dunedin.
Investment firm Forsyth Barr, of which he had been chairman, added $200,000 to the cause.
Mr Edgar said the hall of fame was a big focus for his father before he died.
Sir Eion had a lot of respect for hall of fame chairman Stuart McLauchlan and had conversations with sports graphics entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor about what could be part of a national attraction in Dunedin.
Sir Ian was amazed the council "never bothered" to talk to him, either.
Furious on Wednesday about what he called the short-sightedness of some councillors, Sir Ian wrote to the Otago Daily Times yesterday after learning more about the situation.
Sir Ian said he was stunned Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins could not justify spending $100,000 to keep the museum open for another year, "to give us time to see what we could do to resurrect it with funding set aside by Sir Eion Edgar".
"This from a mayor who was happy to spend $40,000 painting coloured dots down our main street or who was happy to close off the main roads leading to the Octagon to see if more people might walk down it."
The George St works initially had a budget for $40,000, but the project was subsidised by the NZ Transport Agency up to 90% and cost the council about $2500.
The Edgar family’s representative on the Dunedin Indoor Sports Venue Trust Board, Alan McKenzie, said he was part of two informal discussions with council staff.
He indicated some surprise about the flavour of their report that went before councillors after the board had contributed information and perspectives.
Mr Edgar saw parallels between the hall of fame and the battle to get Forsyth Barr Stadium built.
"I’m so glad we had the vision then to push on."
The hall of fame ran a process calling for expressions of interest from potential partners and Mr McLauchlan was disappointed the city council opted out.
Four complying bids had been received and they would be assessed from next week.